LABOR’S FAMILIAR FACE: THUGS ‘Я’ US

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.

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NLRB ATTACKS RIGHT-TO-WORK STATES

From the desk of Stephen Cabot: The National Labor Relations Board has further evidenced its pro-union advocacy by attempting to prevent Boeing from opening a manufacturing facility in South Carolina, a right-to-work state. Having endured numerous strikes against its manufacturing facility in Washington, including a 58 day strike in 2008 that cost the company $1.8 billion, Boeing management decided to build its new 787 Dreamliner in South Carolina. The proposed new facility would generate 1,000 new jobs and bring a $2 billion investment to the state.. The NLRB, however, filed a complaint against Boeing, alleging that Boeing is attempting to violate labor law in retaliation for past strikes against the company. The Board wants Boeing to stay in Washington. It’s no surprise that the International Association of Machinists District 571, which represents Boeing workers, declared the ruling “a victory for all American workers.” Yet, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham called it "one of the worst cases of unelected bureaucrats doing the bidding of special interest groups that I've ever seen." The NLRB is effectively attempting to abrogate the rights of Corporate America by eliminating its ability to decide where it wants to do business. It is also sabotaging the economic viability of twenty-two right-to-work states, which have been providing more new jobs than states which cater to unions and their often extortionate demands.

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BEWARE THE MICRO UNION INVASION

From the desk of Stephen Cabot: In an effort to further aid organized labor, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is considering permitting unions to organize small numbers of workers in any company. Unions may choose to organize as few as five to ten employees, while not bothering with dozens or even hundreds of others. Obviously, it will be far easier for unions to organize five to ten workers rather than an entire workforce. The result will be the formation of “micro unions.” The creation of “micro unions” would permit unions to focus on workers who have specific job descriptions, ones that may be easier to organize than other types of workers. If a union wanted to organize workers at department stores, for example, it could choose to organize stock workers, shipping clerks, and sales clerks without attempting to organize more senior level employees. Similarly, in hotels, unions could attempt to organize maids, busboys, waiters, and bell hops, while not bothering with desk clerks and various levels of managers. Such efforts, if successful, would not only give unions a foothold into various businesses, but it would give them negotiating leverage, for a “micro union” could call for a strike, thus making it impossible for the non-union employees to operate a company. Like an army winning one small battle after another, such a step-by-step approach would provide unions with an eventual opportunity to win the battle against management and take over the entire workforce. It is essential that management learn the appropriate survival strategies so that it can defeat incremental efforts at unionization. It will be one of the vital topics at my upcoming labor relations seminars.

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