Sean Lengell of the Washington Examiner quotes me in a preview of the upcoming Supreme Court case about whether the provision of federal labor law barring employers from giving a labor union a “thing of value” prohibits “neutrality agreements” in which an employer provides its employee lists or free office space to union organizers. A broad ruling to that effect would wrest a major weapon away from unions, which is one reason I’m doubtful it will happen:
“Those that would like to rein in this type of union agreement, whether it be business or conservatives, shouldn’t get too overconfident,” said Walter Olson, a senior fellow at the libertarian-leaning Cato Institute. “Getting the justices to see the logic of Mulhall’s argument is one thing; getting them to act and sign a decision [in his favor] is something else.”
Olson added the justices may be looking for a way out of having to make a definitive ruling.
“I think the court’s instincts are not to pull too hard at the columns of the temple on labor law, because they’re not sure where it’s going to fall,” he said.
Update: reactions to Mulhall oral argument from Jack Goldsmith (and more), Ben Sachs, Cato’s Trevor Burrus, and William Gould/SCOTUSBlog.
Yes, the New York City arts scene has a lot of money sloshing around in it, that of Minneapolis-St. Paul much less, but in neither instance are performing-arts labor unions doing well at reaching a livable accommodation with the needs of high culture. [Hoover "Defining Ideas"]
The Supreme Court yesterday granted certiorari in Harris v. Quinn, a case raising potentially major issues of federal labor law and forced political association. Via SCOTUSBlog:
Issue: (1) Whether a state may, consistent with the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, compel personal care providers to accept and financially support a private organization as their exclusive representative to petition the state for greater reimbursements from its Medicaid programs; and (2) whether the lower court erred in holding that the claims of providers in the Home Based Support Services Program are not ripe for judicial review.
My colleagues at the Cato Institute filed an amicus brief seeking cert in the case. More: Will Baude.
Yesterday I poked fun at a ridiculous piece at HuffPo (apparently written by an undergraduate who was given a byline as a university researcher) claiming that doubling wages at McDonald’s would be no big deal for its prices or business strategy. Well, hats off to HuffPo, which has now withdrawn the piece, apologized for its errors, and substituted a piece that tries to take a more sober look at the issue. I wonder whether Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), who was completely taken in by the original article, is feeling sheepish now (via Twitchy).
So McDonald’s Dollar Menu would go up only to $1.17 if the company doubled all wages? Oh, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), you’re so gullible it’s almost cute. [Tom Maguire]
Update: Well, hats off to HuffPo, which has now withdrawn the piece, apologized for its errors, and substituted a piece that tries to take a more sober look at the issue. I wonder whether Rep. Ellison is feeling sheepish now (via Twitchy).
Writing at Capital Research Center’s Labor Watch:
A shocking change in American labor relations is brewing at the U.S. Department of Labor, which is expected sometime soon to alter a major regulation. The change involves a new interpretation of the “advice exemption” of the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act. Specifically, businesses would have to disclose the names of, and fees paid to, attorneys and consultants who advise them on union-organizing activities. In turn, attorneys and consultants providing such advice would be required to disclose their client lists and the fees they receive.
If that sounds like a road map for retaliation and strong-arming, with dangers for traditional attorney-client confidentiality, well, you’re getting the idea. Furchtgott-Roth says the department has evaded regulatory review by low-balling the proposal’s billions of dollars in costs. “The change has no basis in existing law or precedent.”