Kumho Tire Employees Reject Union

Kumho Tire employees in Macon, Georgia have rejected the United Steelworkers union’s bid to represent them this month in a 164-136 vote.

Maria Somma, director of organizing with the union, has stated that the union intends to file objections with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), citing unfair labor practices by Kumho Tire management. The NLRB oversaw the paper ballot voting process.

A Kumho Tire’s representative has denied the union’s accusations, stating they hired an outside group to ensure employees received information on collective bargaining and the legal ramifications of being represented by a union, but they have done nothing illegal.

Read more about the vote and union filing here.


Supreme Court to Hear Mandatory Fee Case

The Supreme Court has agreed to consider a case to strike down mandatory fees collected by unions for support of collective bargaining. The court will hear the case of Mark Janus, an Illinois state employee who objects to paying fees for his union. A ruling against the unions would impact 22 states. The remaining 28 states have right-to-work laws in place, preventing unions from making these collections.

The Supreme Court deadlocked on a similar case two years ago, with a 4-4 vote after Judge Scalia’s death, but Judge Gorsuch is expected to side with Janus. The 4 opposing judges felt states should be allowed to determine their own laws regarding unions.

A decision is expected in June. If the court votes against the unions, labor experts predict a significant number of employees will stop supporting their union.

Read more about the case, and other related cases, here.

Senator Alexander Votes to Confirm Bill Emanuel to NLRB

Senator Lamar Alexander released the following statement after casting his vote to confirm Bill Emanuel to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB):

“Filling this final vacant seat on the National Labor Relations Board will help restore the board to its intended purpose of acting as a neutral umpire after years of playing the role of advocate. Bill Emanuel will help bring balance to the board and stability to our nation’s workplaces.”

With a 3-2 majority, Republicans will hold their first NLRB majority since 2007. Mr. Emanuel is an attorney who has previously represented clients before the NLRB.

Read more about Mr. Emanuel’s confirmation here.

Workers Should be Able to Reassess Their Unions

A recent opinion piece in the Las Vegas Review-Journal takes on union’s anti-choice mentalities. Until recently, unions could force all employees nationwide to pay dues, even if the workers did not want to be part of a union, and in some states, they still can. Likewise, once unions are certified, they often never have to go through the process again, leaving union members with unions that were certified decades before the employees began working in their companies.

Legislation has aimed to correct these injustices. Right-to-work laws, which allow workers to opt-out of union dues, have been passed in 28 states. Federal reform is also making its way through Congress as the Employee Rights Act. The Act would update antiquated American labor laws, requiring secret-ballot union elections and periodic recertifications. The same Act would make it illegal for union bosses to spend dues on political activity.

Although most union leaders fight against these pro-worker laws, even claiming right-to-work is meant “to destroy unions,” some see value in the proposed measures. Gary Casteel, formerly in charge of organizing Southern auto plants, and Ben Johnson, former president of Vermont AFL-CIO, feel moving unions in a pro-worker direction is good for union performance. It forces the unions to focus on their employees’ needs instead of their own agendas.

Union workers agree. According to a recent study conducted for National Employee Freedom Week (Aug. 20-26, 2017), 70 percent of the 1,700 union workers surveyed thought periodic recertification elections were a good idea. Perhaps its time for unions to listen to them.

Read the full article here.


Big Labor Exploits Texas Hurricane

The Texas Organizing Project Education Fund has begun fundraising efforts in post-Harvey affected Texas in a questionable way. Although some of the funds they raise will go to aiding those impacted by Hurricane Harvey, their donation page states that funds will also help the group organize workers, which is beyond standard humanitarian assistance and expectations for relief donations. The group is sponsored by a number of advocacy groups and unions, including Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Communication Workers of America, Faith in Texas, Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, Texas Housers, and the labor-affiliated Workers Defense Project. SEIU has been the group’s largest union sponsor to date.

“The fine print for this so-called ‘relief fund’ makes clear that it funds workplace organizing efforts, rather than direct aid for Harvey victims,” said Michael Saltsman, research director for the pro-free market Employment Policy Institute. “If Americans want to support Hurricane Harvey relief efforts, they should donate to an organization like the Red Cross—not Big Labor and its affiliates.”

Read more here.