Tag Archives: Big Labor

Unprecedented Union Corruption

After battling the SEIU’s Corporate Campaign against my company, and ultimately winning, I firmly believed that I had experienced corruption at its worst. Sadly, I was mistaken.

It all began in January 2012 when my company was awarded a housekeeping contract in Kokomo, Indiana, a city that benefited from a major portion of the President’s 2009 Stimulus Package and Auto Bailout. It was an unprecedented award, as we were the first non-union cleaning contractor to be awarded the facility. Our staff replaced approximately 30 United Auto Workers (UAW) members, who did not lose their jobs, but rather were absorbed into the  plant operations. The most striking part of the transition was how successful we were. Plant management was ecstatic with the cleanliness, efficiency and safety of our company and employees. Our employees were happy and the employees at the plant were happy with a cleaner facility. This pleasant relationship continued for over 6 months,  until the UAW International raised its ugly head.

Apparently, it did not sit well with the powers-to-be at UAW International that a non-union contractor could be successful at a “union” facility. They sent a corporate organizer espousing the belief that the employees, who to that point had not requested union representation, needed union “protection” and deserved better wages and work rules. The sudden appearance of the UAW International had nothing to do with the employees, but had everything to do with their fear that if we were successful in this plant, that we could begin picking up more “union” plants across the country, thus threatening their future membership dues and way of existence.

Consistent with their SEIU brethren, and in line with the direction of the NLRB since President Obama’s recess appointments in attempt to create Card Check through Regulation vs. Legislation, the UAW immediately contacted us about signing a Neutrality Agreement, which they instead labeled as a “Partnership Agreement.” This blatant misrepresentation would be the first and least onerous of the many that would be spewed by the desperate Gasping Dinosaurs to secure the unionization of our employees. We responded to the UAW just as it did when the SEIU requested we sign a Neutrality Agreement in 2007, we were still not interested in signing away our employees’ rights to a secret ballot election (for more details, read The Devil at Our Doorstep). Despite several contacts by the UAW organizer requesting that we sign the “Partnership Agreement,” we respectfully declined. Giving credit where credit is due, the UAW did not threaten us with a Corporate Campaign, in fact things became suspiciously quiet going into Thanksgiving last year.

Unfortunately, the silence did not last long. The day after Thanksgiving we received notice that the UAW had petitioned for an election to determine union representation for our employees. Immediately we responded, as we had the past, that we expected both sides to conduct themselves with integrity and within the guidelines of the law and NLRA regulations. We also wanted the election to be held as close to the 42-day mandated period as possible, despite knowing the coming holidays would complicate the process. The UAW agreed to an election date of January 8, 2013. This agreement would be the UAW’s last act of civility and integrity during the process.

The day before the election, January 7, 2013, it was clear that the employees were likely to vote against UAW representation, in a close election. Subsequently, the UAW International took it upon itself to ensure a victory. The UAW International contacted the customer’s corporate executives in Detroit and secured an agreement that if the employees would vote for union recognition, the customer would pay us increased costs, including a wage increase of $5.00 per hour, associated FICA, FUTA, SUTA taxes and insurance, plus any applicable overhead and margin increases. This meeting took place without our knowledge nor the involvement of local plant management, who was responsible for budgets and profitability. That same evening the UAW met with our employees at a local Pizza Hut and disclosed the deal. They told our employees all they had to do was vote in the UAW in order to receive the raise in pay.

The next day our employees, coerced by the union bribe, voted in the UAW as its representative. Interestingly enough, our local management at the plant received a phone call approximately 1 hour before the secret ballot election closed and was told that an agreement had been reached and that we would be reimbursed for the increased costs in labor and wages for the facility. I personally received a call a few days later from the customer, verifying the call we received on election day. The most astounding part of the call was that the customer provided us with the exact dollar amount, per hour, it would be reimbursing us, which corresponded almost perfectly with the cost of the wage increase, associated taxes and benefits that the UAW promised employees the night before the election! I sincerely believe that both the UAW and the customer believed that because we would be receiving more revenue, including profit margins, that we would accept the money, negotiate a contract, pay employees more and everyone would be happy. They never considered that we would take the moral high ground and refuse the money!

obama uaw

We immediately filed charges and Unfair Labor Practices (ULP) with the National Labor Relations Board (aka the Rogue NLRB), knowing it would be an uphill battle considering President Obama’s payback to big labor, in the form of unconstitutional recess appointments to the NLRB. The Regional NLRB, to its credit, determined that hearings should be held based on the claims and evidence. Despite significant testimony from employees and the customer’s plant management, as well as other information that clearly implicated the UAW in corruption and coercion, the NLRB found in favor of the UAW.

The decision came as no surprise, based on the NLRB’s “pro-labor” stance under the current Administration. Undaunted, we appealed the decision, which moved the process to Washington D.C. for review. This review would come from the same board that had already been ruled unconstitutional by the United States D.C. Circuit Court, and who believes it can circumvent the Constitution by changing regulations, reversing decisions and making decisions that enable big labor to wage war on employers in attempt to achieve Card Check and force unionization on employees! The NLRB responded as expected, finding in favor of the UAW.

Immediately, the UAW requested to begin contract negotiations, which we declined. Since the D.C. Circuit Court’s decision had been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, after finding the recess appointed board members unconstitutional and placing their subsequent decisions and regulation changes on hold, it seemed logical that discussions would be fruitless until the Supreme Court reached a decision. The UAW quickly returned to its intimidation tactics. They contacted our customer and threatened a strike at the facility unless we began negotiations. The customer, so intimidated by these tactics, canceled our contract, not for poor quality or service and not for refusing to negotiate with the UAW, but for convenience! The corporate office then awarded the contract to a “union” contractor, against the wishes of the local plant management who was instructed to remain neutral and quiet. The whole scenario begs the question, if the customer wanted to pay higher wages, why didn’t they talk to us about it in the very beginning? By offering to build in higher wages for our employees, they could have protected them from the shackles of big labor and required union dues. We would have been more than happy to negotiate with the customer directly for improved wages for our employees!

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This same scenario is currently being played out in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where the UAW is attempting to Force Unionize Volkswagen Employees through use of a Neutrality Agreement and Card Check! In this case, the union claims they have enough votes to win an election, but instead of holding a secret ballot election, which they say takes time and effort, the facility should utilize Card Check! Based on personal experience and as chronicled in The Devil at Our Doorstep, the truth that was discovered upon talking to my employees throughout these scenarios, was that they were intimidated and lied to about the cards they were signing. This is most likely what is occurring at the Volkswagen Plant, the UAW is merely attempting to achieve Card Check through the back door, and the economic impact of these events could be devastating!

Once again Big Labor’s Gasping Dinosaurs are demonstrating their desperation and lack of integrity as they continue to utilize intimidation and coercion to force unionize employees with their “ends justify the means” quest to avoid extinction.

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Promises, Promises: Desperate Unions Grow Weary of Phony Distractions

Big Labor bosses are facing the increasing realization that their organizations are rapidly facing extinction. Faced with this stark reality, they grow increasingly tired of phony promises and betrayal from A Phony President. A trifecta of difficulties, consisting of recent revelations of the impact Obamacare will have on union costs and membership, the weakening of support for “Card Check” legislation, and the increasing popularity and passage of  “Right-to-Work” laws have the Gasping Dinosaurs very nervous. Union membership is at a 50-year low, representing a mere 11.3% of the total workforce and 6.7% of the private workforce. These statistics have Big Labor bosses fighting mad at the lack of return from their campaign investments for the President and desperate enough to attempt any and all options to rebuild declining membership.

With the exception of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which represents healthcare workers across the country and anticipates membership gains from the implementation of Obamacare, Big Labor bosses representing other unions now realize that their once-beloved President has sold them down the river (see The Devil is in the Details: Buyer’s Remorse over Obamacare, Except for SEIU).  The heads of the AFL-CIO, the Teamsters, and other major labor unions are now realizing that not only is Obamacare void of separate exemptions or favorable provisions for unions, but it places unions at an economic disadvantage when organizing new members. In fact, it is so bad  that the Teamsters are Begging Congress for Relief from Obamacare and the Laborers International Union Fears Destructive Consequences from Obamacare. Even the President-friendly IRS Employees Union Members are in an Uproar after realizing that they too will be subject to Obamacare. The President may continue his phony rhetoric to intimidate Republicans and to push for Obamacare to become functional, but he does so at the risk of losing his most ardent supporters.

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The next likely disappointment for the unions is that the President has failed to enact Card Check. Despite that the President’s recent radical appointees to the NLRB were approved by the U.S. Senate and the fact that President Obama Brought in Griffin to Fill Vacant NLRB Position, the Rogue NLRB still faces an uphill battle if they plan to achieve card check.  See “Card Check through Regulation vs. Legislation.”  President Obama previously attempted to achieve card check like provisions through his appointment of board members such as Craig Becker and Richard Griffin.  With the courts finding the President’s recess  appointments to be unconstitutional, and thus their decisions invalidated,  a delay in “union handouts” has resulted in further union membership deterioration and caused the Unions to Demand Payback.

Interestingly, this has resulted in an attempt by Big Labor to enforce desperate and creative measures to increase membership. The AFL-CIO Seeks Answers in Crisis by targeting Hispanics, NAACP, Sierra Club and other groups, and by Winning Back Other Unions into their fold, thereby increasing membership, revenues and power. Not to be outdone, the Desperate SEIU Resurrected the Persuasion of Power and is leading the charge by attempting to organize Home Health Care Workers and immigrants as discussed in the recent blog The Senate Immigration Law Hurts All Americans. Additionally, an all new Worker Center Scheme crafted by the SEIU is in the works, utilizing organizations outside the auspices of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) to attract and organize prospective members, which could be devastating to businesses attacked by these type organizations.

Meanwhile, the SEIU has once again embraced the Living Wage Argument to unionize workers. This tactic, described in The Devil at Our Doorstep, is now being used against McDonalds and other service/food providers under the veil of the “Fight for Fifteen” campaign, fighting to shift wage rates to $15 an hour for these workers. McDonald’s is now feeling pressure from the typical Corporate Campaign tactics, including threats to Contaminate Food! These threats will directly impact McDonald’s revenues, a standard focal point of the SEIU’s campaigns. Of course, all of their actions are being pushed in the name of Social Justice.

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Desperate people do desperate things. As Big Labor continues down this desperate path of no return, the phony President will continue to look the other way and allow his supporters to be cannon fodder. Utilizing his own union-style tactics, the President will continue to create phony distractions at the expense of the rank and file, and they have no one to blame but themselves. It is only a matter of time before Big Labor realizes that the President has no loyalty, not even to the very unions that got him elected!

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U.S. Supreme Court: An Opportunity to Protect Fundamental Freedoms

The U. S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear two cases in the next year which will determine whether persons will be protected in their exercise of the fundamental right to either choose whether to engage in union representation or to abstain from such representation, and to make such decision absent intimidation from either the union or their employer via the secret ballot election — the same process we use to elect our local, state and federal government officials. Interestingly, both cases stem from the President’s attempt to provide political payback to his allies in Big Labor through the Rogue NLRB.

In the first case, the U.S. Supreme Court will decide if the President acted unconstitutionally when he made several recess appointments to the agency charged with oversight of labor-management disputes, the National Labor Relations Board. The lower courts,  U.S. District Court of Appeals for the District of , and the U.S. Third Court of Appeals both found the appointments unconstitutional (see Supreme Court to Consider Obama Recess Appointments and Appeals Court Nixed Obama’s Recess Appointments). This case not only has important implications concerning the further shredding of our constitution  by the Obama Administration, but also Obama’s lawlessness in bypassing other branches of our government, and ignoring the tenant of the separation of powers of the branches of government, to further his own socialistic goals by appointing his own radical people without review and agreement by the legislative branch. In the case of the NLRB, his appointees’ seek to reach the Administration’s objective of achieving Card Check through Regulation vs. Legislation! Simply put, the goal is to eliminate employees rights to a secret ballot election and replace it with Card Check as the means for employees to determine if they wish union representation. If you listened to the Administration’s and Big Labor’s rhetoric, what could be more simple and fair? Unfortunately, it is a process of coercion and intimidation as chronicled in The Devil at Our Doorstep. A process aptly named Death by a Thousand Cuts, which forces employers and employees to capitulate and be subjected to the terms of the so called Neutrality Agreement through ruthless Corporate Campaigns! An agreement that is hardly neutral and subjects both the employees and the employer to Big Labor’s Persuasion of Power!

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The first case, however, is just the Tip of the Iceberg. The other involves a question of the validity of Big Labor’s sacred cow, the aforementioned Neutrality Agreement (see BNA – Supreme Court Agrees to Review LMRA Case Invovling Section 302, Neutrality Agreement). To appreciate this case and its relevance, one must understand why this agreement is so important to the Big Labor Gasping Dinosaurs. As documented in previous blogs, unions have been on a steady decline since 1947 when Congress, following more than a decade of union corruption, passed the Taft-Hartley Act. Of the many important provisions of the Act, perhaps none was more so than the guarantee of the secret ballot election which, for all intents and purposes, eliminated Card Check!  Since its peak prior to passage of the Taft-Hartley Act, union membership has dropped from approximately 35-40% of the workforce to a low of 11.3% today. Statistics gathered by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, included a drop of approximately 400,000 members in the last year alone. Big Labor, realizing its imminent demise, understands it must reinstate Card Check to survive and is relying on the President and his Rogue NLRB to allow them to exploit a little known and hidden clause in the Taft-Hartley Act that allows unions and employers to mutually agree to representation through Card Check. Unfortunately, it is very rarely an agreement achieved through mutual consent. It is predominantly achieved by Big Labor through outright intimidation of employers and employees. What is interesting about this particular case is that it has been brought by an employee disgusted with the intimidation and the fact he believes his rights to a secret ballot election and protection of privacy have been violated!

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One thing certain about these cases is that the justices of the Supreme Court will receive a tremendous amount of pressure from the Administration and its Big Labor buddies to overturn the decisions of the lower courts. The Gasping Dinosaurs, already headed toward extinction, understand all to well that if these decisions are upheld it will be the end of Big Labor as we know it in this country (see If ruling goes Against Labor Union, Organizing Could Get Even Harder). Additionally, the President and his party know all to well they need Big Labor’s financial and ground support to continue to win elections, as well as increase their grip on and expand an already oversized government.

Even more frightening for the future of the United States is what could occur if these decisions are overturned. If they are, this President will feel empowered to continue to appoint radical people to high positions, not just in the NLRB, but all areas of government. He will work to implement regulations that will allow the use of coercion and intimidation by the government and its henchmen to erode our rights, move the country towards socialism and potentially perpetuate the President’s Rule by Fiat! If they can eliminate the secret ballot election for union recognition and trample on the constitution to appoint government officials how long will it be before they expand these programs to every corner of the government? Can you imagine no secret ballot elections to determine our government officials and instead all being appointed by the President?  These are landmark cases that, if overturned, could be the ultimate downfall of this great nation!

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The Senate Immigration Law Hurts All Americans!

Recently, I had the opportunity to view Dennis Michael Lynch’s documentaries They Come to America.  In part, the documentaries explore the pending immigration legislation proposed by the “Gang of Eight,” and finds that the legislation fails to fix the most basic problem — securing the border between the United States and Mexico. Despite claims by the current Administration that the border is secure, the documentary shows the continuing consequences to national security, the American economy, our out of control debt, and desperately needed jobs for the American people.

These documentaries support my previous blog, DREAM Act, the Truth Behind the Nightmare, written in December of 2010, when President Obama was pushing his immigration reform bill known as the  “DREAM Act.”  This bill was primarily driven by politics instead of an interest in doing what was best for the United States and the American people, and which fails to secure the border, protect Americans from terrorism, reduce the massive cost of social programs, help balance the budget, increase jobs and wages for legal Americans, or to otherwise address the issues currently facing our country due to illegal immigration.

If we are to succeed in overcoming these difficulties, the first and most immediate priority must be to seal the border! The Senate bill gives almost ten years for the government to achieve this objective. This is not by accident, but rather intent, as the Obama Administration and the Democratic party understand it will be accepted by the Hispanic community, a demographic they need to continue to win elections. It’s also a gift to big labor in the form of a potential new source of membership to revive its member ranks and flagging revenues. If the President, and Congressional Democrats and Republicans who are on board with this bill really cared about American security, the American economy and American jobs, they would shove political ambitions aside and place the United States military in control of the border and let them do the job they are best at in the world!

Second, the Senate needs to immediately remove all access for undocumented workers to social programs and American schools. Additionally, undocumented workers should have to register with the government immediately and submit to extensive background checks, which, if not acceptable, would result in deportation. These steps would reduce the rolls of undocumented workers immediately and stimulate the economy by reducing budget deficits and providing immediate jobs for legal American workers, a measure which is even supported by the American Hispanic population! Despite the Republican Party’s objections they would gain more favor with the Hispanic population if they would insist upon these measures, combined with regular meetings with the Hispanic community on their own turf.

Third, The Shadow Economy must be reined in (as discussed in my blog, Misclassification of Workers, Common Ground or Hot Bed of Greed). This Under Ground Economy must be reined in if America is to expand employment while recouping lost FICA, payroll tax and income tax revenues that would significantly reduce budget deficits and, ultimately, the runaway national debt! Just as important, enforcing misclassification laws would significantly increase legal American’s wages without them having to be part of a union!

Interestingly, big labor supports the Senate Immigration bill as an avenue to increase membership roles, (see SEIU Pushes Seven Figure Ad Campaign for Immigration Reform ) but appears oblivious to the fact its buddy in the White House is intent on playing both sides of the fence. Despite a supposed focus on employee misclassification, very little enforcement has occurred, which eliminates these people as union targets! See Focus on employee misclassification will continue, Labor official says. The reason is simply that the President and the Democratic Party understand that the Hispanic vote is necessary for Democrats to retain power. Especially the clandestine illegal vote brought in by the big labor ground game, which they continue to count on through other paybacks to big labor through NLRB decisions and regulatory changes. A ground game the Administration and Democrats turn their heads to, despite their bellicose objection to the recent Supreme Court’s decision, eliminating the Voting Rights Act.

Bottom line, the Administration’s motives are hypocritical. They are purely for political gain at the expense of the American people including supporters like big labor. It is time for all Americans to wake up and watch what this administration does, not what it says and understand How “Gang of Eight” Amnesty Will Destroy America for all Americans, including unions. The Wall Street Journal reports Obama to Pressure House GOP on Immigration Bill  this week when it returns to Washington. Its time for the American people to stand up with one voice contact their representatives and say “No” to crony politics!

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Putting “Teeth” in Right-To-Work

Having been involved in the passage of Right-To-Work legislation in Indiana and Michigan, I can attest to the tireless efforts of these grassroots movements – by local businesses in Indiana and concerned United Auto Worker employees in Michigan – to achieve the goal of protecting worker freedoms. Statistical data shows that the implementation of a Right-To-Work law is positive, as such states see statistical growth in both population and jobs. Some have suggested that a Right-To-Work law’s importance is in the guarantee of the freedom of choice and the assurance of a lack of intimidation in the organizing process, but it appears this may not be accurate.

A recent article by Diana Furchtgott-Roth of The Manhattan Institute, suggests not.  Ms. Furchtgott-Roth points out that RTW states not only have the highest employment growth over the last 4-5 years, but they also have the highest growth rate for union membership! The statistics she presented were absolutely astonishing, but few people have picked up on the significance and logic behind the union growth in these states. The truly frightening  part is the number of cases recorded, since Card Check is virtually unregulated and therefore untraceable.

“Why Union Growth: According to data from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), in 38% of all union recognitions in 2009, the latest year for which data is available, unions bypassed secret ballot elections and instead used card checks to unionize employees. Specifically, the NLRB reports that unions won 794 single-union representation elections. During that period, the NLRB recorded 485 notices of card check union recognition.”

Unfortunately, Big Labor’s “Gasping Dinosaurs” are a resourceful lot. Their political contributions have bought them the support of President Obama and his Administration, who has, in turn, appointed a Rogue NLRB. The NLRB is currently lead by heavily pro-union favored board members, many of whom were unconstitutionally appointed by the President (see Appeals Court Nixed Obama’s Recess Appointments). The result of this support is that Big Labor bosses see RTW states as a shining new opportunity to rebuild its declining  membership. The Gasping Dinosaurs understand that with the support of the indebted President and pro-labor support from the NLRB, they can achieve membership without an election through Card Check by utilizing their insidious campaigns of “Death by a Thousand Cuts.”

Once they have infiltrated the masses, Big Labor can then use the same type tactics against the newly forced unionized employees to ensure that they don’t exercise their right not to pay dues (or in some cases, belong to the union) under RTW laws. This can be accomplished by making sure that the uneducated are not advised of these rights, or by the specific targeting of persons who choose not to pay dues.  This can be accomplished because, unions are legally allowed to broadcast a list of those individuals who choose not to pay dues (see Worker’s Allege Improper Collection of Union Dues).

This raises concern, as it is unclear how the “dues-paying” union membership will choose to use this list. Membership who view non-payers as “freeloaders,” may be inclined to use unlawful force, threats, and/or intimidation in an attempt to alter a non-member’s decision. Unfortunately, most members ultimately cave, as employees subject to such intimidation have few options.  While this type of activity is unlawful, the sole oversight of these actions belongs with the National Labor Relations Board, a partisan governmental “agency” whose devotion to labor unions is well-documented and unquestioned. The process is timely, difficult to understand, and expensive – as it generally includes the involvement of an attorney to represent ones interest. With little oversight, Big Labor can continue to grow its membership in RTW states through a combination of employee and employer intimidation, with no government regulation to hinder its actions.

Although RTW has been a Godsend for many states, employees and employers, RTW laws need more “teeth” in order to truly protect employees and employers from ruthless forced unionization tactics. The following changes would eliminate the “behind the scenes” intimidation and allow for fair representation in union elections. Additionally, these changes would impose collective bargaining restrictions that would allow members to make decisions free of coercion as to whether they wished to remain part of the bargaining unit.

  1. Reinstate Secret Ballot Elections: Uphold the long standing belief in allowing people to vote their conscience through a “Secret Ballot Election” by inserting language that  requires all union representation be achieved by secret ballot conducted under the auspices of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Currently Indiana State Senator Jim Banks has introduced such an Amendment to the Indiana state constitution and Virginia has already passed such a law (see New Employee Privacy and Union Voting Rights Laws in Virginia Go Into Effect July 2013).
  • Eliminate Check Off Clauses: Such clauses in collective bargaining agreements require unionized employers and government entities to deduct union dues from members paychecks and forward them to the union. These clauses are utilized by Big Labor through intimidation to force employees to remain part of the bargaining unit in RTW states. Unions should be required to be their own accountants and collect dues directly from the employees without third party involvement. In essence members would then have the ability to decide, just like in the free market, if the services/products they are receiving are worth paying for directly. This is no different than a person paying when satisfied for legal, real estate, investing, or other services/ products. It only makes sense, but is often a non-starter for Big Labor in contract negotiations (see Teachers Silenced by Teachers Union).
  • Eliminate Monopoly Representation and Outlaw Neutrality Agreements: In The Devil at Our Doorstep, I presented the following as the first two points in my “Ten-Point Plan to Battle Big Labor.”

a) Replace the current union monopoly representation with a secret ballot election every three years, so unions have to justify their actions to the employees. Unions must obtain written consent from every dues paying member before using money on anything other than collective bargaining activities.

b) Institute a new regulation that outlaws neutrality-type agreements, which allow card check in lieu of secret ballot elections.

  • Rewrite State Extortion and Blackmail Laws: James Sherk of The Heritage Foundation accurately proposed that we should modify state extortion and blackmail laws to include unions, which are currently not implicated under labor law. This would prohibit pressure campaigns which are designed to force an employer to surrender, rather than trying to persuade the employees to unionize.

Leveling the Playing Field through these changes and passing a National Right-To-Work Law are necessary steps to improve the economy and continue to create jobs absent the threat of Big Labor intimidation! It is imperative for this great country and the freedom of its citizens that new “teeth” are introduced to support and assure the success of the recently passed Right-To-Work laws.

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OSHA Opens New Door For Big Labor

Last week, OSHA joined the ranks of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the Department of Labor (DOL), and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in furthering the Obama Administration’s push to implement “card check” as pay back for Big Labor’s political contributions and ground game support during the past two Presidential Elections (see past blog, Card Check through Regulation vs. Legislation).

OSHA’s latest published “Interpretation Letter,” permitting non-union employees to utilize union reps as their representatives during an OSHA inspection is absolutely frightening (see ALERT – L&E_OSHA Interpretation Letter Non-Union Employees Representative)! Just as frightening, is that this interpretation has not been widely reported by the mainstream media!

Perhaps the silence is the result of the media’s view that the provisions contained in the “interpretation letter” amount to nothing more than harmless, common sense provisions designed to assist employees who feel exposed to potential unsafe working conditions. On the surface this would seem reasonable. However, this provision has been part of OSHA regulations for years. Never before has it been interpreted to allow non-union employees to utilize a third-party union to act as their representative.

So, why now? Despite the Administration’s best attempts, Big Labor continues to lose hundreds of thousands of members as they have lost all relevance and no longer deliver a product of value.  This action by the Obama Administration through its Chief Safety Regulator opens a huge opportunity for unions to enter non-union facilities under the auspices of government approval, and to begin organizing the employees. The unions have become enabled with recent Rogue NLRB decisions allowing unionization of small groups of employees, or “micro-units” within an employers business.  These actions are nothing but blatant Administration attempts to provide Big Labor the opportunity to get its foot in the door of non-union facilities where they previously had no chance to organize the workforce!

During the SEIU’s Corporate Campaigns against my company (EMS), the SEIU actually utilized this tactic in order to defame and intimidate the company into signing a Neutrality Agreement thus eliminating the secret ballot election and imposing Card Check, as chronicled in The Devil at Our Doorstep. The SEIU was, ultimately, unsuccessful.   However, had these two decisions been in place at the time, the SEIU might very well have been successful in organizing a small unit of employees within EMS’s workforce.  The union would simply have to convince, by any means necessary, a couple of employees to join the union cause. They would then allege “safety violations” to OSHA. would then likely appear for an inspection, generally encompassing not just the complained of activities, but any potential safety concern, no matter how large or small.  This, of course, poses substantial risk, both financially and to the reputation of the targeted company.

The SEIU took these actions against EMS in Cincinnati and Indianapolis. If the SEIU would have been allowed to represent these misguided employees the outcome most likely would have been much different then related in the following excerpt from The Devil at Our Doorstep and the SEIU would have had even more access to our employees as their representative.

When I believed the war could not become more bizarre, it did. Without warning, SEIU filed an OSHA complaint in Cincinnati against EMS. This government agency, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, establishes and enforces protective standards designed to prevent work-related injury, illnesses, and death. 

The complaint charged that EMS employees were forced to carry human body parts out in bags at a Cincinnati university, that there were hazardous chemicals and dust in the bio lab, and that people were getting nosebleeds from the poor conditions. Then SEIU sent out handbills and letters alleging that EMS was being investigated for OSHA violations at the university. The word “investigated” had its obvious repercussions, a crafty move by the union. Predictably, when the truth was revealed, it became known that the lab in question was a regular biology lab anyone in college might use. There was no dust found and no hazardous materials of any kind. Animal parts from dissections existed, but no EMS employees touched or disposed of them. Human body parts were nonexistent, a figment of some SEIU organizer’s imagination.

The university’s own investigation confirmed these facts, and its independent report was forwarded to OSHA, who promptly dismissed the charges. Regardless, SEIU had used an inflammatory allegation to file trumped-up charges against EMS to defame our company and the university.”

By taking these actions, the union accomplished their first objective – get in the door and commence the pressure against the targeted company.  The stage is then set for the union to achieve Card Check by simply offering to have the charges withdrawn if the company would simply sign the Neutrality Agreement.  As a practical matter, this would eliminate the secret ballot election. The union would no longer have concern about whether or not they would be voted in by the employees.  Overnight the company would be unionized!

What makes the timing of the OSHA interpretation so questionable is the fact that the President’s recent recess appointees to the NLRB have been found unconstitutional and all of their decisions over the past year have been placed on hold until constitutional appointees can be made and the decisions revisited (see National Labor Relations Board or NBLR – National Big Labor Resuscitation and Tip of the Iceberg). These decisions were extremely pro-labor and designed to allow Big Labor to bypass Corporate Campaigns and achieve Card Check! Obviously, the President had to act swiftly in order to provide his Big Labor buddies with a new avenue to wage ruthless Death by a Thousand Cuts campaigns and utilize their Persuasion of Power to force unionize employees. Once again, it begs the question When Will the Main Stream Media Wake Up?

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Big Labor Bosses Fear Employee Incentives

Control.  It is the most pressing priority for the leadership of Big Labor. They need to control the masses, and in order to do that they most control the terms of employment, and they must control the benefits of employment. For this reason, the Big Labor bosses oppose employee incentive raises. They create discord and jealousy,  and thus, the union’s ability to control its membership.  But such incentives also create ambition, initiative, and increased productivity.  While important to the the employer, these traits are potentially damaging to the union. Complacency, mediocrity and sameness benefit the union,  as the results are that it takes more employees to produce the end product, translating into more union members and more union dues, which is the ultimate objective.

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As has been documented in previous blogs, unions have been on a steady decline since 1947 when Congress, following more than a decade of union corruption,passed the Taft-Hartley Act. Of the many important provisions of the Act, perhaps none was more so than the guarantee of the secret ballot election which,  for all intents and purposes, eliminated Card Check!  Since its peak, union membership has dropped from approximately 35-40% of the workforce to a low of 11.3% today. Per statistics gathered by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, included amongst this trending decrease is a drop of approximately 400,000 members in the last year alone.

It is no surprise then that the Big Labor bosses are opposed to any initiatives that would, in their minds, result in decreased membership and would eliminate traditional union “selling points.”  Characterization of ambition and incentive has often been that such persons are “being taken advantage of” or “overworked,” and that such companies are “sweat shops.” These traditional arguments, however, do not necessarily reflect the truth of the modern work environment, and the protections of our modern laws.  At one time unions served an important purpose in defending employee rights. However, Big Labor has fallen victim to the money, lifestyle and political power realized from increased union membership, and has lost their way and forgot their responsibility was to serve the membership and not vice-versa! Their greed, inability or resistance to compete in a free market society, and the advent of government agencies such as the NLRB, EEOC, and DOL unions in effect became obsolete.

Facing extinction, Big Labor’s Gasping Dinosaurs have yet to face reality and change its model to one that truly benefits productive employees and its membership in general. Instead they continue to attempt to impose their outdated and ineffective tactics of control, intimidation, coercion, and misinformation in a frantic effort to survive. Instead, they continue to wish to return to the days of Card Check where they force unionize employees then keep them under their thumbs by negotiating oppressive contracts that control employee rights instead of expanding them. They firmly believe this outdated approach is their only means of rebuilding their once vast empire!

Big-Labor

Unfortunately for American employees, Big Labor does not realize time has passed them by; and that the United States is a republic not a socialistic country where people are controlled and herded like sheep. Hence Big Labor’s propensity to control and promote sameness at every juncture, and to prevent businesses from doing the right thing by rewarding productive employees through incentive programs, which drives American Exceptionalism  by rewarding those who are the most productive, safe, innovative, and cost-effective team players. This philosophy is illustrated by Big Labor bosses like Andy Stern (see The Drama Queen is at it Again), who were never successful in the free market, because they lacked the exact attributes they strive to suppress. They admittedly only became successful when they became part of an environment where they could use the Persuasion of Power  over employees and employers to achieve their goals. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumpka summed it up succinctly in a speech this past week when the bellicose mouthpiece of the AFL-CIO, confirmed the Big Labor survival doctrine: “forget the workers – focus on politics!” This statement tells you everything you need to know about Big Labor’s agenda and why we need Congress to pass laws to allow employers and government agencies restrained by outdated collective bargaining agreements to incentivize employees and  reverse The Decline of American Exceptionalism!

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Time for Republicans to Go On the Offensive!

During my recent trip to Washington D.C. I was asked to speak to the Republican Whip Committee, a group of approximately 50 Republican U.S. House members charged with the responsibility of  preparing and securing support for passage of “priority” legislation. I used this time to provide the Whip Committee with the background of my battle against the SEIU  and the tactics the SEIU utilized against my company, employees, customers and family, and then drew the parallel to the tactics utilized by the current Administration and the Democratic Party to push forward their progressive agenda.  I concluded by encouraging the Committee to adopt the tactics that led us to victory — to go on the offensive; to make the opponent defend its lies; and to expose the misinformation, propaganda, coercion, intimidation and diversion tactics utilized to achieve their goals.

After briefly explaining my background and providing a short history of the SEIU’s use of thuggish tactics through a  Corporate Campaign in attempt to force unionize my employees by means of  Card Check, I then laid out our successful strategy. We were able to turn the tables by  utilizing the SEIU’s very tactics, but did it in a manner which did not sacrifice our integrity or professionalism. We went to the press, and exposed that the unions representations about how we mistreated employees were not true, but simply SEIU fabrications. In fact, we took out an advertisement, not only challenging the SEIU’s misinformation campaign, but challenging the SEIU to “put its money where its mouth is.”  We publicly agreed to to a secret ballot election where employees could vote their conscience without fear of intimidation or retaliation, knowing that they would wilt at the challenge.

SEIU - Please Fish or Cut Bait

We also accumulated significant evidence of SEIU engaging in conduct in violation of the National Labor Relations Act, and filed 33 “Unfair Labor Practice” charges (ULP’s) against them in one day.  By doing this, we confronted them with their own deplorable tactics, and forced them to defend their actions. Most importantly, we made a concerted effort to meet with all of our employees and our customers on site to explain our position and the reality of the SEIU propaganda, misinformation and its goal of elimination of their rights to a secret ballot election to decide if they desired SEIU representation. In essence, we developed a “big tent” approach to the problem — and it worked!  The people listened, they understood, and the SEIU disappeared!

I implored the Committee to take the same “big tent” approach with the Obama Administration. The President’s tactics are learned from his days as a community (a.k.a. union) organizer. They are learned directly from the SEIU (as explained in Time to Connect the Dots).

The time has come to expose the Rules of Obama Power War, which, like the SEIU tactics misinformation, misdirection, intimidation, coercion and diversions, are  all designed to put the Republicans on the defensive. Instead, the Republicans should stand tall and go on the offensive by burying Obama with investigations into his unconstitutional conduct (see Strategy: Bury Obama In Investigations).  Utilize the same strategy that EMS used when it filed the 33 ULP charges against the SEIU in one day!

I explained that just as Ralphie learned in the movie “A Christmas Story,” the bully only understands and responds to the punch in the nose!  Finally, the Republicans need to reach out to traditionally non-Republican groups, and to explain the reality of the President’s socialist designs and its impact upon their prosperity and freedom! They must do this again and again until the message resonates.

I sincerely hope I made an impact with this gracious and attentive group, as I truly believe that the future of this great nation is at stake and we must have representatives who are willing to stand up and fight for our survival; people who are willing to stand up to the abuse and be prepared for the political and financial cost it will take to save America by going on the offensive! In the days following my speech I began to notice an momentum towards and offensive, and then this past week  an article in the Wall Street Journal GOP Issues Scathing Self-Analysis attracted my attention and the attention of the nation. I was happy to see that the underlying theme and tactics proposed during my speech were entwined within the new direction laid out by the RNC. Now, we need our representatives to have the intestinal fortitude to take the fight to the Administration and its socialist cronies like the SEIU and other far left organizations and individuals who only care about themselves! It is time to take the offensive and save this great nation for our children, grandchildren and future generations!

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One Man’s Fight Against Union Power

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Entrepreneurs in the Silicon Valley should pay close attention to the experiences of Dave Bego, the Indiana businessman who started a company from scratch. By 2006, after years of unrelenting toil and sacrifice by Bego and his family, Executive Management Services, Inc. (EMS) had expanded into 38 states and had 5,000 employees. Bego now had something so valuable it became an attractive target for unionization.

Bego’s story, which he has written about in two books and has turned into a one-man information crusade, is not unique. But his decision to fight back is very unusual, and his account of how his company was targeted has gone largely unreported. The details of his fight reveal a frightening lack of legal protection for company owners and their workers from union intimidation, as well as a dated, shamelessly abused set of exemptions shielding over-zealous union organizers from legal sanctions. A UnionWatch article from December 2012, “The Special Privileges And Exemptions of Public Sector Unions,” references several compilations of how unions escape many of the laws that govern the rest of us, but hearing about what actually happened to Dave Bego makes it far less academic.

It is conventional to assume that if somebody is critical of a union’s tactics, they must be anti-union. But even Dave Bego, who fought the SEIU for years, believes that unions have a legitimate role to play in a capitalist democracy. Because Bego, in an ad placed in the Indianapolis Star, offered to hold a secret ballot election among the employees to decide whether or not they wished union representation. As stated publicly in this ad: “EMS is very willing to let its employees vote in a secret ballot election conducted by the federal government to decide whether they want to be members of your union or not… we have encouraged you to seek an election since your first contact with EMS” (view EMS ad).

The problem unions have with a secret ballot election, apparently, is that the union might lose. When union representatives met with Dave Bego, and during all of their subsequent campaign of pressure and intimidation, what they wanted him to do was sign a “neutrality agreement” (view actual neutrality agreement presented to Bego). Here are highlights of what a neutrality agreement does:

  • The employer shall not “take any action or make any statement that will directly or indirectly state any opposition by Employer to the election by its Employees of a collective bargaining agent.”
  • The employer will sign a letter provided by the union, and distribute this letter to all employees, that is “assuring Employees of Employer’s neutrality in the matter of their union organizing.”
  • “Employer shall provide within five (5) business days a list of the names and addresses of all Employees within classifications subject to this Agreement.”
  • “…union will then present Employer with signed authorization cards or a petition memorializing individual Employees’ desire to be represented by Union for purposes of collective bargaining.”
  • Once the union has submitted union authorization cards from 50% of the employees, if management cannot come to terms with the union during the collective bargaining process, they must submit to binding arbitration.

What a neutrality agreement does is enforce the process known as “card check,” whereby instead of voting in a secret election whether or not employees want union representation, the union organizers gather individual signatures on consent forms. Armed with the home addresses of every single employee, the union has three years to target individuals, one by one, until 50% of them sign the card. This process, currently only legal if and when an employer signs a neutrality agreement, would become law of the land if the union-supported, misleadingly named “Employee Free Choice Act” ever becomes federal law.

Because the unions wanted Bego to sign a neutrality agreement, he refused on principle, because doing so would have denied his employees the right to a secret ballot election. That’s when the troubles started.

As summarized in Bego’s book, “The Devil at Our Doorstep,” the SEIU embarked upon a campaign of persuasion that relied on laws designed to give unions an advantage over employers. Here are some examples of rules that impose double standards on the conduct of unions vs. employers during union organizing campaigns:

  • The “Persuader Rule,” which requires employers to publicly disclose all relationships with outside firms who may assist them to resist unionization. Not only are unions exempt from this rule, but because most employers have never encountered a union campaign before, they have no choice but to solicit outside advice on the legal issues as well as on how to effectively communicate with their employees. This rule gives the unions an opportunity to then attack anyone consulting with the employer.
  • The “Posting Rule” requires employers to post union provided printed material in their workplace, saying, for example, that all employees have the right to unionize – with contact information. But the employer does not have the right to post anything reminding employees that they are not compelled to vote for unionization.
  • Rules prohibiting “Interrogation,” or “Promising,” meaning an employer cannot meet with employees during a union campaign and ask them (i.e., “interrogate” them) what is wrong, or what can be done to improve work conditions. Similarly, during a union campaign an employer cannot remedy work conditions; that is “promising.”
  • Unions are exempt in many states from laws that make stalking an individual a crime, as well as laws that make many forms of extortion a crime.

In order to hold a secret election, the union has to get 30% of a company’s employees to sign a petition asking for a vote. To do this, their operatives approached EMS employees – over and over – on their way to work, in the parking lots, and sometimes even followed them home. They enlisted the support of local clergy, who organized blockades of buildings where Bego’s employees worked. Because EMS provides contract janitorial services, the unions organized demonstrations outside these buildings, intimidating the building owners in an attempt to get them to change vendors. They sent letters to the press and to EMS clients alleging “unfair labor practices” which in most if not all cases were without merit. Indeed, in November 2007, EMS filed a set of counter-charges (view EMS Unfair Labor Practice Charges Against SEIU), and in the subsequent NLRB hearing the ruling was in favor of EMS. Even the NLRB felt the union had gone too far.

These “corporate campaigns” occur every day across America. Most employers cannot withstand the pressure from the unions. At one point, the union campaign against EMS included enlisting children on Halloween night to go trick-or-treating in Bego’s neighborhood, and after being given candy, they gave each resident a union flyer.

While Bego has managed to successfully fight the SEIU, at least so far, most people can’t stand up to the intimidation that appears to be standard procedure for unions who operate a corporate campaign. Not only the company owners, but their family, their employees, their suppliers, and their customers face harassment. Sometimes this harassment escalates into vandalism and violence, with laws in place that create for unions a higher threshold before such acts become criminal. But the unions are lobbying for even more laws to assist them in their corporate campaigns. For example:

  • Unions have now won the right to form “micro-unions,” where they can carve out small groups of employees and hold a union election. If a union can’t get 30% of an entire retail store to sign cards calling for an election, they can now get 30% of the employees in one department of that store to sign the card, and an election will be held for that particular department.
  • Unions are pushing to lower the time period between when cards are submitted requesting an election from 48 days to 18 days; the so-called “Quick Elections” rule. This creates a significant advantage for the unions, because it takes time to communicate to employees that they are not compelled to vote for unionization. Many employees who have signed cards calling for an election believe that they are required to vote for unionization because they signed the card requesting the election.
  • Legalizing the “Card check” method of unionization, via the perennially introduced “Employee Free Choice Act,” would enforce the terms of a neutrality agreement on employers without their consent. Unions could then approach employees individually until they collected signatures from 50% of the workforce, eliminating the secret election ballot.

Eliminating unfair union advantages, currently built into federal law, would not necessarily eliminate unions. In a recent speech at an event sponsored by the Heritage Foundation (view speech – begins at 5:40), Bego emphasized that some workplaces probably would benefit from unionization. But unions must play by the same rules as the companies they negotiate with, employees should have a right to a secret ballot in elections concerning unions, and nobody should be forced to join a union.

Silicon Valley entrepreneurs come from a variety of ideological leanings, but it is accurate to state that most of them support Democratic political candidates. Perhaps this, combined with their extraordinary personal wealth, blinds them to the agenda of unions, despite the fact that public sector unions already control California’s state and most of its local governments and their unsustainable financial demands are contributing to the insolvency of those institutions.

If the Silicon Valley business elite want to maintain control of the companies they founded, and preserve the vitality of the new industries they helped create, they should take a careful look at the proper role of unions in 21st century America. Because the rules governing unions and union organizing are at a tipping point. If union-friendly legislation continues to emanate from Washington D.C., and Sacramento, the Silicon Valley may find itself on the front lines of a battle for which they are entirely unprepared.

Published via UnionWatch.org by  on MARCH 11, 2013
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Leveling the Playing Field

Following my recent speech at The Heritage Foundation, I had the distinct honor and pleasure to meet with members from organizations dedicated to the true spirit of preservation and protection of American freedoms. In attendance were a prominent group of labor experts and other groups including The Heritage Foundation, The Manhattan Institute, The Labor Relations Institute and many others. We had an in-depth discussion about forced unionization, the effect it has on American employees and employers, and the role it plays in American economics and The Taking of American Freedoms.

The group engaged in a roundtable discussion where participants were provided an opportunity to ask questions about The Devil at Our Doorstep and my personal experiences with the SEIU. They wanted to better understand  how my company was able to rein in the intimidation tactics utilized by big labor during a Corporate Campaign, methods supported by recent NLRB decisions to force unionize employees though Card Check. As the discussion evolved, there were many suggestions on ways to eliminate the brutal campaign tactics. This included passage of a National Right-To-Work law (NRTW), embracing Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations lawsuits (RICO) and, at a state level, passage of laws intended to prohibit bullying and intimidation by labor bosses. James Sherk of The Heritage Foundation proposed that we should modify state extortion and blackmail laws to include unions, which are currently not implicated under labor law. This would prohibit pressure campaigns which are designed to force an employer to surrender, rather than trying to persuade the employees to unionize.

Although I am in favor of a National Right to Work Law and some of the additional legislation proposed by the participants, I noted some possible concerns. While NRTW is a potent tool to protect employees, it does not have the teeth to hold its own against the big labor bullies. NRTW merely eliminates the “security clause” in collective bargaining agreements, effectively allowing employees to opt out of the union if they so desire. NRTW does not, however, eliminate the “check off” clause that big labor utilizes to keep employees tethered to the union. This is a clause that big labor demands in its collective bargaining agreements because it forces the unionized entity to deduct union dues from the employees’ paychecks and submit them to the union, unless the employee openly declares he or she does not want to be a part of the union. This may sound simple, but due to behind the scene intimidation tactics used by big labor bosses at the workplace, very few employees will actually opt out and request non-union status. The big labor bosses don’t want to acknowledge that Collective Bargaining is a Privilege, Not a Right, fearing that members would vote with their pocket books and against the unions if these agreements were truly negotiated to benefit the members!

The “check off” clause is imperative to unions and is found in almost all collective bargaining agreements. With this clause, unions do not have to expend the time and money for accountants to bill and collect dues from the employee. More importantly, it is a guaranteed revenue steam that is not contingent on them providing a service to its membership. Unlike a typical business operating in a free market system that has to provide an acceptable product or service in order to be paid, big labor bosses do not have to worry about such inconveniences. Instead, they use intimidation to keep the membership in line and the money from dues flowing! If big labor actually had to collect its own dues, the members would react to its poor service as customers do when a business provides poor service, they would quit buying or in this case quit paying!

“To force a man to furnish contributions of money towards the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves is both sinful and tyrannical.” – Thomas Jefferson

This fact was made quite evident in two major instances, although neither was widely reported by the mainstream media. In the first year of Governor Mitch Daniels’ (R-IN) first term he eliminated the “check off” clause for public employees by Executive Order. Within the first year, approximately 90% of public employees quit paying union dues. They obviously were not pleased with the services provided. Not long thereafter, Governor Scott Walker (R-WI), achieved essentially the same result through legislation during the first years of his first term in office. Unions in Wisconsin immediately saw approximately a 30% drop in their membership when members voted with their pocketbooks and stopped sending monthly dues to the unions. Joe Brock, a former union organizer, succinctly summed up big labors’ pathetic record and inability to keep members without intimidation and coercion when he said, “If unions could do what they really say, instead of a 6.6% membership rate in the private sector, the union halls would look like Wal-Mart on Black Friday!”

Dianna Furchtgott-Roth of The Manhattan Institute, pointed out that RTW states not only have the highest employment growth over the last 4-5 years, but they also have the highest growth rate for union membership! The statistics she presented were absolutely astonishing, but few people likely picked up on the significance and reason behind the union growth in these states. Since employees aren’t required to join unions in RTW states, more companies are relocating to these RTW states. However, this actually provides unions new and fertile ground, as witnessed with the Boeing case in South Carolina. Despite the fact that a state or country is RTW, the law does nothing to prevent big labor Corporate Campaigns to force unionize employees and employers. In fact, as discussed by Russ Brown of The Labor Relations Institute, these campaigns are being exported all over the world as big labor becomes more and more desperate to reverse its dwindling membership!

It may come as a surprise to note that most union employees that are under the pressure and intimidation from big labor bosses will choose not to opt out of the union! The intimidation from union stewards and public employees paid to conduct union business on the job prevents employees from opting out of the union. As a part of any collective bargaining agreement, these people should not be allowed access to employees on the job! As Dianna described in her talking points, these public employees or Official Time Loafers contribute nothing to government except to further union goals and intimidate current employees to remain with the union, all at a cost to the taxpayers of approximately $156 Million each year. These are the jobs we should target to reduce government spending!

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The lesson to be learned is that when the free market is allowed to work and people are free from intimidation, they vote with their conscience. It is easy for big labor to intimidate and keep members when they have guaranteed means of collecting dues. However, when big labor is forced into a situation where they have to collect union dues on their own, it cannot accomplish the task! Even more important, this puts unions in a position where they must provide the service expected by the members and utilize dues for the employee’s benefit. If unions were to adopt this type of free market mentality, they would likely see their membership grow, without the use of intimidation and coercion. Unfortunately, they have no desire or understanding utilizing such an approach, hence the need to eliminate the “check off” clauses in any future RTW bills.

Obviously, this would be a highly contested issue as the President and the Democratic Party depend heavily on big labor for political contributions, political support and ground game. It is certain that the White House would block any attempt to pass a NRTW law, or any legislation that would eliminate the coveted “check off” clause. They know that big labor cannot compete without its bullying intimidation tactics, and in a true free market society, unions would become extinct. It is time to level the playing field for all Americans by passing a National Right to Work law that also prohibits dues “check off” clauses, because Right to Work Is A Basic American Freedom!

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