Unions. Once upon a time, they helped shape the American industrial landscape by increasing pay to reasonable levels and increasing safe working conditions. They can do a lot of good, but these days they don’t. In this case, they managed to run 1,000 jobs off. The people of Mississippi thank the Machinist Union for their help.
The Olin Corporation made two contract offers to the union. They turned them both down, with at least the second one having been voted on with the knowledge that Olin was at least considering a move. Many union members assumed it was a bluff. Apparently, they were wrong.
Joseph Rupp, the chairman, president and CEO of Clayton-based Olin, pointed the finger at the workers’ failure to accept a contract that guaranteed seven years of job security in exchange for reductions in vacation time, an elimination of a matching company contribution to retirement plans and other incentives.
“While I am disappointed that employees … chose to reject a proposal that would have allowed us to remain competitive in East Alton, we look forward to expanding our existing operations in Mississippi,” Rupp said in a prepared statement.
Seven years of job security? Talk about a sweet deal. Apparently though, they didn’t like the idea of the loss of monetary incentives instead. That was their right. Unfortunately, this is the result. POOF! No more job.
Of course, the union is arguing that Olin is wrong from the start:
The Machinists claim Olin’s bid to renegotiate their contract violated the terms of the three-year agreement it reached with the union in 2008.
Think about it! Four years ago, the Republican Party held the White House and both houses of Congress. Now, the Democrats have won the Presidency by a sizable margin, gained additional seats in the majority Democratic House, and could possibly hold a sixty-vote majority in the Senate—large enough to end any Republican initiated filibuster.
First of all, consider the magnitude of the Republican loss. What support shifted from four years ago?
It seemed like the Twinkie was done for at the end of the last year. Due to high-labor costs and a union unwilling to make concessions to end a strike, Hostess was forced to liquidate its assets, including the spongy, creme-filled snack. But the Wall Street Journal notes that the Twinkie and other sweet snacks will be make a comeback July — and labor unions won’t have any influence:
The company that bought the Twinkie, HoHo and Ding Dong brands out of bankruptcy is gearing up to reopen plants and hire workers, but it won’t be using union labor.
Hostess Brands LLC—Metropoulos & Co. and Apollo Global Management LLC’s APO +3.00% new incarnation of the baking company that liquidated in Chapter 11—is reopening four bakeries in the next eight to 10 weeks, aiming to get Twinkie-deprived consumers the classic snack cake starting in July.
Chief Executive C. Dean Metropoulos said the company will pump $60 million in capital investments into the plants between now and September and aims to hire at least 1,500 workers. But they won’t be represented by unions, including the one whose nationwide strike sparked the 86-year-old company’s decision to shut down in November.
Metropoulos and Apollo, the company that bought Hostess, is opening up bakeries in couple of right-to-work states, including Georgia and Kansas. Illinois and Indiana — neither of which are right-to-work states — will also get bakeries as well. All told, Metropoulos and Apollo will employ some 1,500 workers in the four plants.
This is ironic since labor unions have been among President Barack Obama’s biggest supporters, often unquestionably supporting his policy proposals. However, the United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers, which has 22,000 members, is now pushing for repeal of ObamaCare, the administration signature domestic law:
A labor union representing roofers is reversing course and calling for repeal of the federal health law, citing concerns the law will raise its cost for insuring members.
Organized labor was instrumental in getting the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010, but more recently has voiced concerns that the law could lead members to lose their existing health plans. The United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers is believed to be the first union to initially support the law and later call for its repeal.
Like many unions, the roofers insure members through a so-called multiemployer health insurance plan that’s jointly managed by employers and the union. Mr. Robinson says the union’s concerns about the law began to pile up in recent months after speaking with employers.
The roofers’ union’s current insurance plan caps lifetime medical bill payouts at $2 million for active members and $50,000 for retirees. Next year, the plan has to remove those caps in order to comply with the health law. Other aspects of the retiree plan must become more generous in order to meet the law’s minimum essential coverage requirements next year. All that will increase the cost of insuring members, Mr. Robinson said, and has prompted the union to weigh eliminating the retiree plan.
Back in January, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that President Barack Obama acted outside of his constitutional authority when he made three recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), a relic of the New Deal, in January 2012.
While the Constitution does provide a president with the power to make recess appointments, the Senate was in pro forma session, and hadn’t formally adjourned.
On Friday, the House of Representatives passed HR 1120 — the Preventing Greater Uncertainty in Labor-Management Relations Act — which would prevent the NRLB from taking any action until either the Supreme Court settles the legal case on the recess appointments or until Congress adjourns for the year:
The legislation would force the National Labor Relations Board to cease making any rulings until the Supreme Court rules on the validity of two recess appointees the White House made to five-member board.
The effort is mostly symbolic since the Democrat-majority Senate is unlikely to take up the bill.
Written by Walter Olson, Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute. Posted with permission from Cato @ Liberty.
The U.S. Department of Labor claimed the authority to issue rules governing the H-2B guest worker program on the grounds that the underlying statute provides for it to be consulted as part of the program’s administration. On Monday, the Eleventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals curtly rebuffed this “absurd” claim. From its opinion:
In its proposed and final rules, DOL cited two statutory provisions as the source of its rulemaking authority. First, DOL cited 8 U.S.C. § 1184(c)(1), which instructs the Secretary of DHS to consult with the “appropriate agencies of the Government” in resolving whether to grant a foreign worker a visa upon the “petition of the importing employer.” Although there is no grant of rulemaking authority to DOL in this statutory section, DOL asserts that as the result of the permission it grants to DHS to consult with it, DOL “has authority to issue legislative rules to structure its consultation with DHS.” The end result, in DOL’s view, is that it is empowered to engage in rulemaking, even without the DHS.
We reject this interpretation of “consultation.” Under this theory of consultation, any federal employee with whom the Secretary of DHS deigns to consult would then have the “authority to issue legislative rules to structure [his] consultation with DHS.” This is an absurd reading of the statute and we decline to adopt it.
Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI), who took on labor unions by reforming collective bargaining laws and in a subsequent recall election, spoke this morning at CPAC 2013 where he rallied the crowd by giving an empassioned defense of conservatism. Gov. Walker, who is thought to be a potential candidate for the GOP nomination in 2016, also went on the offense against President Barack Obama’s economic policies, including ObamaCare.
Based on what I heard this morning, both in his speech and from attendees walking around, Gov. Walker not only delivered one of the best speeches of the weekend, but sounded very Reagan-esque.
You can watch Gov. Walker’s speech below:
Unions like to present themselves as the protector of the worker from the big, bad employer. Once upon a time, that was dead on right. Those days have passed though, and now unions feel they need to do whatever is necessary to stay alive.
With Michigan’s new right to work law, unions took a big, big hit. However, the teacher’s union in that state has gotten…let’s just say “creative” …with how to stay relevant despite the state no longer permitting mandatory union membership.
A school district is attempting to force teachers to pay union dues for the next 10 years, despite being located in Michigan, which is now a right-to-work state that specifically prohibits mandatory unionization.
Michigan became the 24th right-to-work state in December. But the law doesn’t take effect until March 28 — giving unions time to grandfather in their contracts if they can get them approved before the deadline. As part of this effort, the Taylor School District approved an entirely separate “union security agreement” that will force teachers to keep paying the union until 2023.
Under the security agreement, teachers’ only options will be to pay union dues, or pay an agency fee amounting to about $800 a year.
Since its passage in 2011, Big Labor has been working through the court system to undo the collective bargaining reform law signed by Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) in early 2011. Despite the Wisconsin Supreme Court upholding the law in June 2011, Big Labor won a reprieve after a federal district court struck down part of the law.
But the these much needed reforms were given new life today thanks to a decision by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which upheld the law in its entirety:
A federal appeals court on Friday upheld Act 10, Wisconsin’s controversial reform law that guts collective bargaining for most public employees in the state.
The decision strikes a blow to public-sector unions that gained a temporary victory in September, when a Dane County Circuit Court Judge ruled parts of the law unconstitutional.
The 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals struck down key provisions of a separate federal court’s ruling, writing, “The district court invalidated Act 10′s recertification and payroll deduction provisions, but upheld the statute’s limitation on collective bargaining. We now uphold Act 10 in its entirety.”
It seems though good news is hard to come by, especially in the last several days. But here is one that should get your week off to a good start.
Do you remember Clint Tarver? He owns the hot dog cart that was destroyed last week by union thugs who weren’t too happy about his catering for Americans for Prosperity, a group that was counter-protesting in Lansing in support of Michigan’s new “right to work” law. Not only did they destroy his hot dog cart, they hurled racial slurs at him while doing so.
Mr. Tarver received an outpouring of support as an online fundraising effort brought in over $33,000 (the news report below doesn’t have the up-to-date estimate) to help him replace the damage done to his business. Tarver also received support from state legislators in both parties: