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Major labor union to slash budget in wake of Trump victory (Read More…)

By SEAN HIGGINS
12-27-2016

The Service Employees International Union, one of the nation’s largest unions, is slashing its budget by 30 percent in the wake of President-­elect Trump’s victory, portraying it in an internal memo as a necessary reaction to having fewer friends in power.

“Because the far right will control all three branches of the federal government, we will face serious threats to the ability of working people to join together in unions. These threats require us to make tough decisions that allow us to resist these attacks and to fight forward despite dramatically reduced resources,” said SEIU President Mary Kay Henry in staff message dated Dec. 14, according to Bloomberg
The tough decisions include a 10 percent budget cut starting in January and an additional 20 percent cut starting in 2018.

SEIU was a major supporter of the Democrats in the last election, spending $21.6 million to help elect them, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The union had high hopes that a win by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Democratic gains in Congress would cement efforts by the Obama administration to aid union organizing, boosting the movement’s sagging numbers and treasuries.

A Clinton win would also have likely resulted in a more liberal Supreme Court), which would have been a boon for a union lead effort to get the justices to invalidate state ‘right to work’ laws which make it harder for unions to organize and retain members.

Instead, the election went badly for organized labor and it faces the prospect of a presidential administration that will roll back Obama­era regulations that aided unions. Trump has nominated Andy Puzder, president of CKE Restaurants, which owns the Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr., franchises, to be the next labor secretary Puzder is a major critic of Obama’s regulations as well as a higher minimum wage.

The labor movement also faces the prospect that the Supreme Court could limit the use of “security clauses” provisions in union­management contracts that force all workers to either join a union or support one financially as a condition of employment. The provisions are a major source of union revenue.

The justices heard a case early in 2016 called Friedrichs v California Teachers Association that challenged whether public sector employees could be bound by such provisions. The court was widely expected to rule against the union in the case, however, Justice Antonin Scalia died not long after oral arguments and the remaining eight justices split evenly, preventing a ruling and sparing unions from a major blow. The court could take up a similar case in the next session, however. The fact that it accepted Friedrichs shows that several justices have an interest in the question.

Posted by Admin on 12/27 at 03:03 PM
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Texas attorney general wins injunction in ‘persuader rule’ case (Read More…)

Richard Jones Dec. 20, 2016

LUBBOCK— A U.S. judge has issued a permanent injunction setting aside an Obama administration directive requiring employers to document when they enlist consulting firms and attorneys to advise on anti-union campaigns.

U.S. District Judge Sam Cummings sided with Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and the National Federation of Independent Business which deemed the so-called “persuader rule” a violation of federal law.

In his ruling, Cummings denied the government’s motion seeking to set aside a preliminary injunction issued by the judge in June and instead granted the NFIB’s motion for permanent injunction.

Andrew Leonie, associate deputy attorney general for Texas, said he was pleased with the decision.

“This office is extremely pleased that this misguided effort has been halted,” Leonie said.  “This was a reach and clearly in violation of federal law. Fortunately, Judge Chambers saw through this and we were able to prevail.” 

The “persuader rule” was one of several regulations the Obama administration advanced in support of labor unions. Prior to the issuing of the directive, an attorney and labor relations consultants who engaged in face-to-face dialogue with workers in an effort to convince them to not to join unions were required to report their activities and their pay. 

Indirect communication could not be reported and federal laws allowed an exemption for employers from disclosing when they received advice on how to respond to union organizing activity.

The agency said the rule will allow workers to have the proper information at hand when making the decision to organize or form unions. The regulation had the support of several major labor unions, including the Service Employees International Union and the AFL-CIO.

The National Federation of Independent Business immediately sued, alleging the law would render it difficult and expensive for small business to procure legal advice.

Texas and nine other states joined the lawsuit alleging the Department of Labor directive was an encroachment on their right to regulate the legal profession within their borders.

Leonie said the law went beyond infringing on a role traditionally governed by state bar associations by treading upon the fundamental right to counsel and the attorney-client privileges. 

“Employees have rights and at the same time employers should not be forced to reveal confidential information in violation of a privilege that has been historically protected under the Constitution,” he said.

The outgoing Obama administration has pushed through other labor-friendly regulations including measures that sought to make it harder for companies to classify workers as independent contractors rather than designating them as employees.

According to Leonie, his office has had no contact with the incoming administration of President-elect Donald Trump but is confident the matter is settled.

“The judge has sent a clear message in this case,” Leonie said. “And while the government has the option to appeal to the fifth circuit court of appeals but we don’t anticipate that. We haven’t spoken with anyone in the new administration but we would hope that they agree and see it from our point of view.” 

The case is National Federation of Independent Business v. Perez, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas Lubbock Division Case number No. 16-cv-66.

Posted by Admin on 12/20 at 01:46 PM
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