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01 Nov 2017 Survivor: Iowa Law Curtailing Public Union’s Powers Fends Off Court Challenge

  A Polk County, Iowa, judge has dismissed a lawsuit we blogged about recently that challenged a new Iowa law curtailing the collective bargaining powers of the state’s public sector unions. Immediately after the law was passed in February, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Iowa Council 61 (AFSCME) filed a lawsuit claiming the law violated the state’s constitution. AFSCME is a large public sector union representing tens of thousands of government workers…

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27 Oct 2017 UAW Not Letting Up on Tesla

  The United Auto Workers (UAW) union still has its sights set on Tesla. Earlier this week, the UAW filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) alleging that the car manufacturer illegally terminated employees who support the union’s ongoing organizing efforts. These allegations come on the heels of separate charges filed by the UAW against Tesla related to unionization efforts earlier this year.   The UAW’s recent focus on Tesla is not…

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27 Oct 2017 Right-to-Work Battle in Illinois Enters Cease Fire – For Now

  Illinois is completely surrounded by right-to-work states that have laws making it unlawful for companies to require union dues as a condition of employment. Notwithstanding the recent trend of states enacting such laws, the Illinois legislature tried its best this year to block right-to-work legislation within its borders.   Earlier this year, the Illinois legislature passed a law that would prohibit local governments from enacting their own right-to-work laws after one Illinois municipality attempted…

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25 Oct 2017 No Money, Big Problems: Union Pension and Benefit Obligations May Force Hartford Into Bankruptcy

  Unfunded public union pension obligations have been making headlines for years, perhaps most notably with Detroit being forced into a contentious bankruptcy. Detroit, however, is hardly alone. Many states and municipalities have severely underfunded pension obligations crushing their balance sheets.   The next city to fall victim to promises made to their unions may be Hartford, Connecticut. Moody’s, a credit rating service, is predicting the municipality will be defaulting on debt owed by the…

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18 Oct 2017 What’s Your Preference? NLRB Adopts Federal Court’s Ruling Permitting Hospital’s Nonunion Hiring Preference Policy

  The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) recently was forced to accept a First Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling earlier this year that a hospital’s hiring preference policy applicable to its nonunion employees was lawful. The board originally had ruled the policy violated the National Labor Relations Act.   The hospital system at issue had both union and nonunion sites. At a union site, there was a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) that contained a provision giving…

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16 Oct 2017 Survey Says: Incentive-Based Pay Systems Provide Higher Compensation Than Time-Based Models

  Anyone who has engaged in collective bargaining knows that, generally, unions throw their arms up at any proposal dealing with incentive-based pay versus time-based pay systems. Their rationale can range from distrust to unfounded beliefs that incentive-based pay somehow detracts from seniority. However, new data published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) – a government entity that tracks labor data in the U.S. – gives some nice bargaining ammunition to employers looking to…

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13 Oct 2017 Go Figure – Production and Maintenance Employees Belong in the Same Bargaining Unit

  In its K&N Engineering decision issued Oct. 12, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled that a regional director misapplied its Specialty Healthcare standard. The International Association of Machinists (IAM) had filed a petition to represent K&N Engineering’s production and janitorial employees, but not its maintenance employees, the latter of which are traditionally perceived to likely be “no” voters. The regional director applied Specialty Healthcare and ruled that the employer had not met its…

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12 Oct 2017 Trouble in Federal Union Paradise

  While private sector union membership has been declining for decades, down to 6.4 percent in 2016, public sector unions have remained relatively strong. But perhaps not everything is as good as it seems for public sector unions. Following news last week of the U.S. Supreme Court’s upcoming decision on mandatory public union fees, we’re now treated to a salacious story of federal employee union in-fighting.   American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) Local 12,…

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06 Oct 2017 Will Congress Act to Stave Off the Broadening Definition of Joint Employment?

  Congressional efforts to potentially undo the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) Browning-Ferris decision took a step forward on Oct. 4. The House Committee on Education and the Workforce passed legislation that would redefine “joint employer” under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) to only cover instances when two or more companies have direct control (as opposed to merely indirect or potential control) over a group of workers. In other words, if ultimately signed into…

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05 Oct 2017 Will Mandatory Fees to Public Unions Survive? SCOTUS Set to Revisit the Issue

  The U.S. Supreme Court will once again address whether public-sector unions can collect mandatory fees from nonmembers to help pay for collective bargaining.   As previously reported, the high court heard this issue last term in the case of Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association and appeared poised to rule against the union, but deadlocked 4-4 following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. That caused the lower court’s decision in favor of the unions to…

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