Category Archives: Labor Unions

OK, Convince Us: Will the GOP and union members ever kiss and make up?

Source: Dan Seligman, Campaigns & Elections, Vol. 28 no. 10, October 2007
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American Viewpoint’s client roster reads like a Republican Who’s Who. … So when Randall Gutermuth mentions his firm’s latest client at parties, it tends to raise some eyebrows. “The National Education Association has over a million Republican members, so it makes a lot of sense to me that they’d be reaching out to those members,” said Gutermuth, who is American Viewpoint’s director of political affairs. The firm is helping the teachers’ union reach out to those members–not a simple task for what many on the right view as the great bastion of liberalism. … So the union landscape this cycle is some pretty unique terrain. Politicians are bypassing union leadership to court individual workers, and unions find themselves trying to court their own members. The question is: Will the grout that binds these workers hold them together politically for yet another campaign cycle?

Union Busting Confidential: To keep out organized labor, you need the union-busting law firm Jackson Lewis

Source: Art Levine, In These Times, Vol. 31 no. 10, October 2007

“If you thought the union movement was in decline–Think Again!” So read an online ad for a recent seminar in Las Vegas that promised to help me remain union-free. Actually, I had thought the union movement was in decline, but I’m an open-minded sort, so I was willing to be persuaded otherwise. I paid my $1,595 and signed up. Organized by seminar-specialty firm Executive Enterprises, it would be led by attorneys from Jackson Lewis, one of the leading law firms in the field of union-busting, which has become a multibillion-dollar industry encompassing more than 2,500 lawyers and consultants offering their services. The classes would take place in the Las Vegas Westin Casuarina, which promises its guests “a sanctuary in the midst of bustling excitement” as well as craps, blackjack and three-card poker. I booked a room.

Charter Schools and Collective Bargaining: Compatible Marriage or Illegitimate Relationship?

Source: Martin H. Malin and Charles Kerchner, Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, Vol. 30 no. 3, Summer 2007

From the abstract:
The rapid increase in charter schools has been fueled by the view that traditional public schools have failed because of their monopoly on public education. Charter schools, freed from the bureaucratic regulation that dominates traditional public schools, are viewed as agents of change that will shock traditional public schools out of their complacency. Among the features of the failed status quo are teacher tenure, uniform salary grids and strict work rules, matters that teacher unions hold dear. Yet unions have begun organizing teachers in charter schools. This development prompts the question whether unionization and charter schools are compatible.

The Wage Impact of Trade Unions in the UK Public and Private Sectors

Source: David G. Blanchflower and Alex Bryson, Institute for the Study of Labor, IZA DP No. 3055, September 2007

This paper draws attention to an increase in the size of the union membership wage premium in the UK public sector relative to the private sector. We find the public sector membership wage premium is approximately double that in the private sector controlling for a full range of individual, job and workplace characteristics. Using data from the Labour Force Surveys of 1993-2006 the gap between the membership premium in the public and private sectors closes with the addition of three digit occupational controls, although significant wage premia remain in both sectors.

However, using data from the Workplace Employment Relations Survey of 2004, the public sector union membership wage premium remains roughly twice the size of the private sector membership premium having accounted for workplace fixed effects, workers’ occupations, their job characteristics, qualifications and worker demographics. Furthermore, the membership wage premium among workers covered by collective bargaining is only apparent in the public sector.

Union-made vehicle list available for Labor Day

Source: United Auto Workers, August 31, 2007

From the press release:
The UAW announced today that a list of 2008 union-made cars, trucks, pickups, vans, CUVs and SUVs is now available on the UAW Web site at 2008 Union-Built Car and Truck Guide….

Vehicles from nine different manufacturers are produced in union-represented auto assembly plants in the United States and Canada, according to the list distributed today by the UAW. Union-made products are available in every price range and in every product category, including hybrids, clean diesels and energy-saving flex-fuel vehicles.

UAW-made vehicles, said Gettelfinger, have recently won top-quality rankings from J.D. Power and Associates and the University of Michigan Consumer Satisfaction Survey.

In addition, the most recent Harbour Report, a closely watched study of auto plant efficiency, showed that when union plants are compared with nonunion facilities that build the same type of vehicle, union plants are more productive in 12 out of 13 cases.

Union Certification: A Critical Analysis and Proposed Alternative

Source: Mark Harcourt and Helen Larri, WorkingUSA, Vol. 10 no. 3, September 2007
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The North American union certification system has not met the representation needs of most workers. In this essay, certification’s effectiveness is critically examined. The exclusive representation and winner-take-all approach satisfies only two out of seven categories of union and nonunion workers with different representational preferences. The “winners” are those who successfully exercise their choice to be either unrepresented or represented by their most preferred union. All others are “losers.” A compulsory proportional representation alternative is proposed which allows for both union and nonunion forms of representation, representative election based on proportional votes, and mandatory workplace representation. The merits of this alternative in balancing the needs of both voting majorities and minorities and protecting worker rights from management encroachment are discussed. Some preliminary suggestions on its implementation are offered.

Race, God, and Guns: Union Voting in the 2004 Presidential Election

Source: Donald W. Beachler, WorkingUSA, Vol. 10 no. 3, September 2007
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The conservative political preferences of many working class Americans have been the subject of much academic and popular analysis in recent years. This article investigates the voting behavior of union household residents in the 2004 presidential election. The source for this information is national and state exit polls from the 2004 election. There has been much debate about whether white working class support of Republicans is rooted in conservative cultural values. Despite ardent opposition by the Bush administration to the goals of organized labor, 46 percent of white voters who resided in union households voted Republican in the 2004 presidential election. The impact of race, religion, and gun ownership on the voting choice of labor households is investigated in an effort to provide an understanding of conservative voting by so many households affiliated with an interest group that is at odds with the Republicans.

Campaign to Organize Federal Transportation Security Officers: A Model of Open Source Unionism

Source: Sharon Pinnock, WorkingUSA, Vol. 10 no. 3, September 2007
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All discussions with people on the American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO (AFGE) campaign to organize federalized airport screeners–reclassified in 2006 as “Transportation Security Officers” (TSA), ultimately end with the adage that the mobilization effort is righteous. The author, who has organized over fifty organizing campaigns in nearly thirty years as a labor organizer, has never before worked on a unionization drive that feels as righteous as that to organize TSA workers.

Landmark Ruling Guarantees Canadian Workers Collective Bargaining Rights

Source: Glen Chochla, Labor Notes, # 342, September 2007

A coalition of health care unions in British Columbia (B.C.) scored a groundbreaking victory on June 8 when the Supreme Court of Canada struck down key provisions of the province’s Health and Social Services Delivery Improvement Act (Bill 29). Overturning two lower court decisions and a number of its own decisions dating back to the 1980s, the country’s top court ruled that collective bargaining is constitutionally protected as part of the guarantee of freedom of association in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Related articles:
Supreme Court of Canada says collective bargaining protected by Charter
Source: Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)

Unions and Upward Mobility for Low-Wage Workers

Source: John Schmitt, Margy Waller, Shawn Fremstad, and Ben Zipperer, Center for Economic and Policy Research, August 2007

From press release:
Unionization substantially raises wages and benefits even in typically low-wage occupations, according to “Unions and Upward Mobility for Low- Wage Workers”, a report released today by the Center for Economic and Policy Research and Inclusion.

The report, which analyzed 15 of the lowest-paying occupations in the United States, found that unionized workers earned about 16 percent more than their non-union counterparts. Unionized workers in these same industries were also about 25 percentage points more likely to have health insurance or a pension plan.

For workers in these low-wage industries, unionization raised their wages, on average, about $1.75 per hour. In financial terms, the union effect on employer-provided health insurance and pensions was even larger.