Tag Archives | Labor unions
Debunking the Mackinac Center's phony teachers union "pension spiking" scandal

Debunking the Mackinac Center’s phony teachers union “pension spiking” scandal

I recently wrote about Michigan teacher Mary Davenport, a woman who had received hundreds of thousands of dollars in support from her union, the Michigan Education Association (MEA), only to turn around and claim they “weren’t there when she needed them.” She was duped into being the poster child for the campaign by the corporate front group Mackinac Center to encourage teachers to leave their union.

In the letter Davenport signed that was sent to thousands of Michigan teachers using their taxpayer-funded work email addresses, Davenport railed against what Mackinac Center calls “pension spiking” by MEA president Steve Cook whose pension will be based on his MEA salary.…

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This one chart shows why collective bargaining is so crucial for ALL Americans

This one chart shows why collective bargaining is so crucial for ALL Americans

Do you ever feel like you never seem to be able to get ahead? That you work your whole life but, at the end of the month, the end of the year, you aren’t any further ahead than you were last month or last year?

This one chart goes a long way toward explaining exactly why that is:

As the chart shows, since the attacks on unions began back in the 50s and 60s and union membership began to drop, the share of income enjoyed by the middle 60 percent of families began to drop as well. In fact, the two correlate frighteningly well.…

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President Obama smacks down Republican attempt to block new NLRB rule making it easier for workers to unionize

President Obama smacks down Republican attempt to block new NLRB rule making it easier for workers to unionize

Last December, the National Labor Relations Board issued a new rule to “modernize and streamline the process” of forming a union.

The new rule:

  • Provides for electronic filing and transmission of election petitions and other documents;
  • Ensures that employees, employers and unions receive timely information they need to understand and participate in the representation case process;
  • Eliminates or reduces unnecessary litigation, duplication and delay;
  • Adopts best practices and uniform procedures across regions;
  • Requires that additional contact information (personal telephone numbers and email addresses) be included in voter lists, to the extent that information is available to the employer, in order to enhance a fair and free exchange of ideas by permitting other parties to the election to communicate with voters about the election using modern technology; and
  • Allows parties to consolidate all election-related appeals to the Board into a single appeals process.
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GUEST POST: After Philip Levine: Who Will Speak for Workers Now? And is Anyone Listening?

GUEST POST: After Philip Levine: Who Will Speak for Workers Now? And is Anyone Listening?

Today’s guest post was written by my new friend Sally Tyler. Sally lives in Washington, DC. and is a public policy analyst for a national labor union, who spent time in Wisconsin in 2011, and who occasionally reads poetry.

She writes today about Philip Levine, a U.S. Poet Laureate who died last month. Levine is best known for his poems about laborers and the working class. As Sally writes, his loss is a loss to the labor movement as a whole.

Enjoy.
Philip Levine, U.S. Poet Laureate 2011-12, who died in February, said that he began writing poems about the people who worked alongside him on the line at Detroit auto plants in the 1950’s because they were “voiceless.” I think Levine would have probably admitted that workers were always saying something, but that not enough people bothered to listen.…

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New study finds that union members are happier, more satisfied people

New study finds that union members are happier, more satisfied people

A new study by professors from Baylor University and the University of Arkansas shows that, despite a 10% decline in union membership over the past 30 years, union members are happier and have greater satisfaction in their lives than non-union members. In a New York Times article titled “Want to Be Happy? Join a Union”, the two professors talk about their research:

[A] recent study may give some workers reason to reconsider [union membership]. For those who belong to a union, membership seems to bring a benefit that perhaps surpasses better wages or generous health insurance: higher life satisfaction.

The study authors, Patrick Flavin, an assistant professor at Baylor University, and Gregory Shufeldt, an assistant professor at the University of Arkansas, Little Rock, used data from five different years between the early 1980s and mid-2000s, conducted in the United States, of the World Values Survey, a research project focusing on people’s beliefs.

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While progressives try to catch up with ALEC in the states, ALEC moves to the cities and counties

While progressives try to catch up with ALEC in the states, ALEC moves to the cities and counties

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a Koch brothers-funded group that churns out pro-business model legislation for state legislators, has been incredibly effective at impacting policy at the state level. A recent study shows just how effective they have been:

Building on research I am conducting with Konstantin Kashin, I used text analysis of ALEC’s model legislation, along with all state legislation introduced and enacted since the mid-1990s, to identify instances when state governments enacted ALEC-authored bills related to public unions. (In all, I counted twelve enactments of ALEC reform bills across eight states.) These bills generally followed several common patterns, such as provisions making it more challenging for labor unions to automatically collect dues from workers, and making it easier for states to contract out services that were previously performed by public workers.…
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INTERVIEW: AFL-CIO’s Liz Shuler – Has the “American Dream” become the “Impossible Dream”?

The American Dream, according to dictionary.com, is defined as: the ideals of freedom, equality, and opportunity traditionally held to be available to every American, or, a life of personal happiness and material comfort as traditionally sought by individuals in the U.S.

I might suggest that, based on generational differences, the definition of the American Dream might be different from generation to generation. Clearly, though, at least in the world I live in, one has to wonder if it’s time to redefine what the American Dream is. I’m not suggesting that the ideas set forth at dictionary.com are necessarily wrong. At the same time, however, I am concerned that the way it’s defined doesn’t exactly fit into today’s model of what our communities are, what we seek for them to be, and more importantly, how we get there.…

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Administrative law judge rules that MEA must allow teachers to leave union at any time

Administrative law judge rules that MEA must allow teachers to leave union at any time

After losing in court countless times, the corporatist front group Mackinac Center has finally won a round. This week, an administrative law judge ruled that the Michigan Education Association (MEA) teachers union must end its decades-old policy of having an “opt-out month” and allow its members to leave at any time. The judge’s ruling is essentially a recommendation to the the Michigan Employment Relations Council (MERC) which has the final say on the matter.

Members of the Michigan Education Association should be able to resign from the union at any time, and not just during the month of August, an administrative law judge ruled this week.…
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Corporate front groups pushing laughable "National Employee Freedom Week" and other anti-union efforts

Corporate front groups pushing laughable “National Employee Freedom Week” and other anti-union efforts

Despite the success of groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the State Policy Network (SPN) and their affiliates, and other related anti-union corporate front groups in making states like Michigan so-called “Right to Work” states, these same groups are having far less success in actually getting people to leave their unions. In Michigan, for example, only around 1% of their members quit the Michigan Education Association teachers union after Michigan became a right to work state. The fact is that union membership as a percentage of the work force in our state has remained largely flat since right to work was passed and the number of people who belong to a union increased by 4,000 last year.…

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Ford chief: Union bosses and union thugs helped save our company and avoid federal bankruptcy

Ford chief: Union bosses and union thugs helped save our company and avoid federal bankruptcy

The UAW is vilified on a regular basis by anti-union corporatists, including their Republican shills in our state legislatures and the federal government. Our domestic vehicle manufacturers are being hobbled and strangled by the “union bosses” and “union thugs” who have the audacity to collectively bargain for good wages and benefits.

Now that the Great Recession is largely in our rear view mirror, we learn that the Ford Motor Company, the only Big Three company that escaped the economic downturn without having to rely on the federal government for assistance and that didn’t go through bankruptcy, got through it largely because of the UAW.…

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