From the desk of Steve Cabot: Maybe it’s arrogance, as Organized Labor feels increasingly emboldened by its protectors and enablers in the Administration and Congress. Or maybe it’s desperation, as union leaders sense a political sea change that threatens those cozy relationships and their delusional demands at the bargaining table.

Whatever the motivation, what is clear is that employers are being confronted increasingly by labor tactics as old as extortion and physical violence and as new as cyber attacks and a range of dirty tricks impacting companies and their customers alike.

One current high-profile illustration of over-the-line union thuggery involves a broad campaign of blackmail, extortion and other criminal acts against Sodexo USA, which has filed suit against SEIU in federal court under the RICO Act. A U.S. district judge recently denied the union’s motion for dismissal, thus green-lighting the case for immediate prosecution.

One of the documents discovered as this case has unfolded is a 70-page “how-to” intimidation manual (click here to download) which encourages, among other things, targeting board members and their families for public harassment and personal embarrassment within their community. You may remember an example of this in May when SEIU drove 14 busloads of screaming, bullhorn-equipped, placard-carrying protestors to the home of Bank of America’s deputy general counsel in suburban Washington, DC, terrifying their teenage son who was alone in the house.

It has been equally alarming to watch the union tactics in the Verizon strike. You may have seen the viral video of a picketer pushing his young daughter in front of a moving Verizon truck while shouting obscenities at the nonunion employees trying to get to work. In a related incident, police in Uniontown, PA reported an act of “criminal mischief” in which the power was cut to all land lines in the area,  including those to state police barracks and other emergency services. All indications are that it was an inside job.

This is disturbing stuff. And while Organized Labor may take comfort knowing they are being given a long leash by the pro-union NLRB and Department of Justice, 2012 is coming – and the American people will be heard.

expert labor relations advice


From the desk of Stephen Cabot: According to a front page article in The Wall Street Journal, “the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council of Carpenters is seeking paid demonstrators to march and chant on its current picket line.” The union is picketing an office building for not using unionized workers. It’s apparently all right for the union to use non-union picketers, but it’s not all right for the building management to use non-union workers. Consistency has never been a trademark of union practices.

The union, according to the article, hires unemployed people and pays them a minimum wage, $8.25 an hour.

Yet, unions across the country loudly complain that no one should have to accept the minimum wage because it’s not “a living wage.”

With low labor costs, the Carpenters’ union is able to fund 150 picket lines in Washington, DC, where neither the pro-union NLRB nor the union-friendly White House has murmured a word of disapproval. As the picketers chant, “Low Pay! Go Away!” one can only wonder if the picketers and their low-paying unions are even aware of the inherent irony.

Will a renegade union come along and attempt to organize the non-union picketers? How would the NLRB rule on such a case? One can only hope and smile.

expert labor relations advice