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Republican Takes Over NLRB (Read More…)

By Bill McMorris
January 26, 2017

President Donald Trump elevated the National Labor Relation Board’s lone Republican member to be chairman of the nation’s top labor arbiter after eight years of Democratic control.

The agency announced on Thursday that Philip Miscimarra would serve as acting chairman of the board, which oversees labor disputes as well as union elections. Miscimarra will replace former union attorney Mark Gaston Pearce as board chairman.

“I remain committed to the task that Congress has assigned to the Board, which is to foster stability and to apply the National Labor Relations Act in an even-handed manner that serves the interests of employees, employers and unions throughout the country,” he said in a release.

Miscimarra was appointed by former president Barack Obama in 2013 and has often served as a lone dissenting member. Despite taking over the chairman’s role, he remains outnumbered 2-1 by Democrats. There are two vacancies on the 5-panel board, which Trump has yet to fill.

Miscimarra’s tenure on the board has been defined by his blistering dissents on many of the board’s most controversial decisions. When the board ruled that graduate students and teacher assistants had the right to unionize, for example, Miscimarra scolded the majority for ignoring the letter of the law in order to benefit unions.

“Congress never intended that the NLRA and collective bargaining would be the means by which students and their families might attempt to exercise control over such an extraordinary expense,” he said. “Collective bargaining is likely to detract from the far more important goal of completing degree requirements in the allotted time, especially when one considers the potential consequences if students and/or universities resort to economic weapons against one another.”

The Obama administration board tilted the scales of labor policies in favor of unions. It overturned longstanding decades of legal precedent along the way, including decisions that allowed for the formation of micro-unions, holding businesses liable for labor violations committed by subcontractors or franchisees, and changing dues withholding rules. The agency engaged in ambitious rulemaking, speeding up union election timetables and broadening disclosure requirements that employers must hand over to union officials.

Labor attorney Peter Schaumber, who served as an NLRB boardmember from 2002 to 2010, told the Washington Free Beacon that the Trump should make retaking the board a top priority given its outsized importance to the economic landscape. He urged Trump to use his recess appointment powers when the Senate breaks in February.
“For the last eight years the Board has been an appendage of organized labor changing decades of Board law solely to make union organizing easier,” Schaumber said. “President Trump’s desire to create jobs will be furthered by taking immediate control of the NLRB and getting that agency off the back of America’s job creators.”

Miscimarra’s term expires in December.

Posted by Admin on 01/26 at 03:09 PM

Machinists union to file for new organizing vote at Boeing’s South Carolina plant (Read More…)

By Dominic Gates - Seattle Times aerospace reporter
January 20, 2017

The Machinists union announced Friday that it will file for a new vote to organize production workers at Boeing’s manufacturing complex in North Charleston, S.C., according to a person familiar with the plans.

Detailed arrangements for the vote among roughly 3,000 eligible workers must be agreed on by the union and company through the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), a process that typically takes three to five weeks.

The union filing will trigger a fresh wave of impassioned propaganda from both the International Association of Machinists (IAM) and Boeing as each tries to sway the workforce during the run-up to the vote.

The union had indicated in November that a vote would come soon and that it expects this time to be successful after a failed attempt to organize in 2015.

In anticipation of the IAM announcement, Boeing issued a statement Thursday suggesting that the union’s primary focus is preserving jobs in the Puget Sound region, not North Charleston.

“We’ve said consistently over the past several years, and we continue to believe, that a union is not in the best interest of our teammates, our business, our community or our state,” Boeing said. “Our position has not changed.”

Boeing sent mailings to the homes of its South Carolina employees in November aimed at convincing them to resist the union’s overtures.

However, the IAM’s move to file for a vote indicates it has managed to get more than 30 percent of the workers to sign cards requesting union representation.

The union called a previous vote in March 2015, but canceled it a month later before the vote actually took place when it sensed a lack of majority support.

It’s likely union officials wouldn’t file again now unless feedback from workers has given them more confidence about the outcome.

With President-elect Donald Trump taking office on the same day as the IAM announcement, the vote in South Carolina will likely stoke political fires.

Trump will immediately be able to appoint two new members to the NLRB, which could mark a shift in future rulings.

The labor-secretary nominee — Andrew Puzder, chief executive of CKE Restaurants, which owns the Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. restaurant chains — has been critical of the NLRB.

And South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, a fierce opponent of the IAM organizing Boeing, will also be a Cabinet member as Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations.

The total workforce at Boeing South Carolina now stands at just over 7,600 people, down more than 600 jobs since the peak last March.

Posted by Admin on 01/20 at 01:57 PM