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.”
A Sixth Circuit panel declines to strike down a state law under which public schools will no longer withhold union dues from teachers’ salaries. The Michigan Education Association had claimed that Public Act 53 interfered with its First Amendment right to speak. [David Shepardson, Detroit News]
“A law working its way through [the French] parliament would grant amnesty to workers who have ransacked their company’s offices or threatened their bosses during a labor dispute.” [USA Today via Jon Hyman]
The teacher’s union in Oregon is trying to get the legislature to repeal a voter-approved measure that warns electors in the state when a property tax hike is on the ballot. I’ve got more at Cato at Liberty (& Brian Doherty, Reason).
Philadelphia: “Union Workers *Probably* Torched a Quaker Meetinghouse Over Christmas” [John Ross; Steve Volk, Philadelphia Magazine] The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has compiled a report [PDF] on ways in which state laws exempt unions and their members from otherwise applicable criminal laws [Sean Higgins, Washington Examiner ("Union organizing exempted from stalking laws in four states"), Nathan Benefield/Commonwealth Foundation] Columnist Fred Wszolek says the sponsors of “Freedom from Workplace Bullies Week” might need to cast their net a bit wider. And see
August 1999 post in this space (unions have secured for themselves immunities from civil liability far more extensive than most businesses dream of); Grover Norquist/Patrick Gleason, Reuters (exemptions from anti-stalking laws).
Broward County, Fla. transit bus driver Larry Moore “was disciplined 19 times” and “was held responsible for nine accidents with other South Florida drivers.” After a so-called last-chance warning in 2008 he “went on to be disciplined seven more times, for five preventable accidents and two clashes with customers, county personnel records show.”
The Sun Sentinel reported earlier this month that one driver, Charles Butler, who cost taxpayers $73,005 in a lawsuit settlement, was involved in 21 accidents while driving a county bus. Twelve were deemed preventable, and 10 involved him hitting another driver. He is still driving, despite having reached the firing threshold. …
[Transit director Tim] Garling said the county follows the union contract, which calls for progressive levels of discipline.
[Sun-Sentinel, newspaper's earlier coverage of Butler case here and here]
A. “Buried in the middle of the penultimate paragraph.”
Q. “Where, amid a long rant against the D.C. Circuit’s decision striking down most recess appointments by the President (“A Court Upholds Republican Chicanery”), would you expect the Times to concede that the practice of holding pro forma sessions to stymie such appointments was pioneered under Democratic Senate rule as a way of restraining President George W. Bush?
No prizes, as distinct from amusement value, in demonstrating what the New York Times thought of the practice back then.
More on the Canning v. NLRB decision: Trevor Burrus/Cato, massive link roundup at How Appealing, John Elwood, Point of Law roundtable, Michael Fox/Employer’s Lawyer (implications for NLRB), @markcalabria (implications for Richard Cordray CFPB appointment), Michael Greve, Mike Rappaport.
My colleague David Boaz surveys the views of libertarians who criticize right to work laws as a (further) incursion on free contract (Sheldon Richman, Gary Chartier) and those who by contrast emphasize its possible advantages as a second-best solution amid a national labor law regime decidedly unfriendly toward liberty of contract (David Henderson, Shikha Dalmia). To which might be added the views of Steve Chapman, who finds the issue’s importance overrated, Robert VerBruggen vs. J.D. Tuccille; Iain Murray (second best); and critic Milton Friedman.
Meanwhile, Stephen Bainbridge recommends a history of the right to work movement by George Leef, Daniel Fisher notes that unions have been quite successful in some states like Nevada that do have right to work (on which more). And Mickey Kaus notes, regarding the wider debate: “Instrumental political arguments have become the major defense of Wagner Act unionism.”