Labor Reform

 

Government Unions:

At the end of the day, the collective bargaining practices of Government Unions offer them a monopoly on electing officials across the United States.

The State Government Leadership Foundation believes it is time for state and local governments to reestablish voter control over government by ending collective bargaining with Government Unions.

  • Collective bargaining gives government unions a monopoly on labor. It prevents voters and taxpayers from hiring anyone on nonunion terms. This gives government unions enormous leverage over the public. 
  • In the private sector, competition keeps union demands in line. The government earns no profits—unions bargain for more tax dollars. 
  • Bargaining collectively in government means that voters do not have the final say on public policy. Instead, their elected representatives must negotiate spending and policy decisions with the unions. 
  • Government unions have used this leverage to raise government pay above private-sector pay and negotiate subsidies for their fundraising, thereby politicizing the civil service. Aside from the political parties, government unions are the top campaign spenders in America. 
  • State and local governments should restore voter control over government by ending collective bargaining with government unions. 

Government unions are also, essentially, proponents of more government, more handouts, and greater spending.  Taxpayers should not have to subsidize the wish lists of government unions.

  • Unlike in the past, a majority of union members in the U.S. now work for the government. Their pay and benefits are funded by taxpayers. 
  • Unions are campaigning for higher taxes and more government spending in dozens of states across the country. Today’s union movement consists largely of government employees lobbying for more government. 
  • This transformation of unions is the result of competition, which has undercut private-sector unions like the United Auto Workers. But the government faces no competition, so government unions can negotiate higher pay and more benefits (and higher taxes to pay for it) without risking their jobs. 
  • In the government, payroll systems automatically deduct union dues from unionized employees’ paychecks. Taxpayers should not have to subsidize union campaigns, much less those that call for tax increases. Congress should end the automatic payroll deduction of union dues.

News & Articles

Right to work survey: Local government leaders anticipate moderate impacts from law

Written by Melissa Anders for Michigan Live on December 16, 2013Labor Reform
LANSING — Michigan’s local government officials expect the right-to-work law will have a fairly limited effect on their municipality’s fiscal health, ability to attract and retain workers and businesses, and their relationship with unions, according to a new report. Just 26 percent of Michigan’s local governments have unionized workers, and many of those are police and fire department employees who are exempt from the law. Those with unionized workers appeared to have a slightly more negative outlook on the law’s effect on labor relations, while expectations for municipal finances and business and worker attraction skewed more positive, according to a report released Tuesday by The Center for Local, State and Urban Policy at the University of Michigan.

For example, 20 percent expect it to have a negative impact on their relationship with unions, while 9 percent expect a positive impact. Most anticipate mixed or no results. Thirty-one percent expect right to work to help business attraction and retention, while just 7 percent think it will hurt. “Overall … this is just not a game changer” for local governments, said Tom Ivacko, the center’s program manager. The report is based on a spring 2013 survey of county, city, village and township officials from 1,350 jurisdictions. About 59 percent of the respondents were Republican, 23 percent Democrat and 18 percent Independent.
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Public opinion turns against labor unions in California

Written by David Siders for The Sacramento Bee on December 13, 2013Labor Reform
Public support for labor unions has plunged in California, with more voters for the first time saying they do more harm than good, according to a new Field Poll. A plurality of registered voters – 45 percent – now feel that way, compared to 40 percent who say they do more good. The poll registers a dramatic, 10 percentage point change in public opinion from two years ago, when voters rated labor unions far more positively. The measure follows heated controversies around public pensions, municipal bankruptcies and political campaigns involving organized labor – one of the most influential forces in California’s Democratic politics. “It seems like they keep winning the battles,” Field Poll director Mark DiCamillo said. “The question becomes, ‘Are they moving the public in the direction where they may lose the war?’” DiCamillo attributed declining support for labor unions to growing concerns about public pension costs and, in the densely populated San Francisco Bay Area, frustration around recent transit strikes.
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One year later: How has right-to-work changed Michigan?

Written by Lindsay VanHulle for The Lansing State Journal on December 07, 2013Labor Reform
A year after right-to-work laws were approved with the promise of radically changing Michigan’s business climate, little has actually changed. And, any changes likely won’t be realized for years, if at all. While proponents trumpeted the laws as necessary to draw companies to Michigan, there are no examples of businesses that have done so because Michigan now is a right-to-work state. And organized labor, whose leaders blasted the legislation as a union-busting attempt in the state that gave birth to unions, has seen far fewer defections among its members than originally feared.

To be sure, some union members have bolted and more could follow, since right-to-work provisions don’t take effect until current contracts expire. But leaders say the defections are just a fraction of total membership. Most workers, they contend, are choosing to stay with their unions. “When you’re dragged to the edge of the cliff, you get serious and you scratch and you fight really hard,” said Ray Holman, legislative liaison for United Auto Workers Local 6000, which represents nearly 17,000 state employees. “The people have been very supportive. I think in some ways (we) have encouraged or inspired people to think about what it means to be in a union and what it means to have a strong collective bargaining team.” Over five days in December 2012, the GOP-controlled Legislature and Republican Gov. Rick Snyder rushed a set of bills known as right to work into law during a lame-duck session, making Michigan the nation’s 24th right-to-work state. In effect since March, the laws — one each covering private- and public-sector employees —make it illegal to force workers to pay union dues as a condition of employment.
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JUDGE CLEARS WAY FOR DETROIT TO PURSUE BANKRUPTCY, HANDING LABOR UNIONS HUGE DEFEAT

Written by Becket Adams for The Blaze on December 03, 2013Labor Reform
Dealing a major blow to labor unions, a judge ruled Tuesday that Detroit can move ahead with its bankruptcy filing. “This once proud and prosperous city can’t pay its debts. It’s insolvent. It’s eligible for bankruptcy,” Judge Steven Rhodes said in announcing his decision. “At the same time, it also has an opportunity for a fresh start.” The bankruptcy, which aims to address the city’s $18 billion in long-term liabilities, means unions, pension funds and retirees stand to take a loss with the rest of the city’s creditors.

Rhoades said he believes bankruptcy will allow Detroit to recover and move forward. “The city of Detroit was once a hard-working, diverse, vital city, the home of the automobile industry, proud of its nickname the Motor City,” he said adding Detroit’s many problems including double-digit unemployment, “catastrophic” debt deals, vacant homes, massive public safety issues and population loss. The judge did not approve a specific bankruptcy plan for the city. Rather, he gave Detroit officials the green light to pursue that option, despite massive pushback from major labor unions.
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Michigan Chamber: Right to work sent message state is competitive, but economic impact uncertain

Written by Melissa Anders for Michigan Live on December 02, 2013Labor Reform
LANSING — Michigan improved its economic competitiveness last year but still remains in the bottom half compared to other states, according to a new ranking from the state chamber. Growth in jobs, personal income and economic output helped Michigan rise to 39th most competitive out of 50 states in 2012, up from 47th in 2011, according to a study conducted by Northwood University for the Michigan Chamber Foundation. “Michigan has a lot of reasons to celebrate in the last couple of years, especially in the last year,” said Northwood's Tim Nash, who credited a “much more friendly business environment” thanks in part to improved business tax and regulatory environments. While Nash and chamber officials said improved tax and regulatory climates led to overall economic improvement, the state's ranking in the categories of “state debt and taxation” and “regulatory environment” actually fell a few spots. They said that could be from other states moving up faster than Michigan.
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Some Michigan teachers protest union's actions

Written by Gary Heinlein for The Detroit News on November 21, 2013Labor Reform
Lansing – — On the eve of the Legislature’s Thanksgiving break, three teachers went before a Senate committee to accuse their union of deception and intimidation. “I just felt I needed to say something because I felt there was something unfair going on,” said Novi special education teacher Susan Bank regarding her unsuccessful effort to stop paying dues under the state’s new right-to-work law to the Michigan Education Association. “People are very intimidated by union goings-on.” Her testimony at the Nov. 13 meeting came during the first of several right-to-work-related hearings slated for a new committee whose chairman said will explore other issues but is vague about what they will be.

A spokesman for the state’s largest teachers union argues the organization is complying with state law, which allows it to set membership rules. For four decades, the MEA has required members seeking to resign to do so between Aug. 1 and Aug. 31, and the right-to-work law doesn’t change the situation, said Doug Pratt, the union’s public affairs director. “It says we can have our own policies as to membership,” Pratt said. “The August window has existed for more than 40 years.” State Sen. Arlan Meekhof, R-West Olive, the Senate’s majority floor leader, said the four-member Senate Compliance and Accountability Committee will look into rights violations resulting from misapplication of new laws.
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New Michigan Senate committee to probe whether teacher unions adhere to right-to-work

Written by Kathleen Gray for The Lansing State Journal on November 10, 2013Labor Reform
A new state Senate committee formed this week will look at how teacher unions are complying with Michigan’s new and controversial right-to-work law. Sen. Arlan Meekhof, R-West Olive, was one of the sponsors of the right-to-work law and is distressed that some teachers have had a hard time quitting their unions — as the new law allows. “I heard from a teacher from my district who said that the union was making intimidating moves towards her, including attacking her credit,” when she wouldn’t pay her union dues, Meekhof said.

So he lobbied for the creation of the Senate Compliance and Accountability committee that will look into how teachers are being affected by the law. He is the chairman of the new committee. Othere members are state Sens. Jack Brandenburg, R-Harrison Township, Tonya Schuitmaker, R-Lawton, and Hoon-Yung Hopgood, D-Taylor. Democrats and officials with the Michigan Education Association call the committee a politically motivated exercise meant to beat up on unions. “It’s a political witch hunt,” said Robert McCann, spokesman for state Sen. Gretchen Whitmer, D-East Lansing. “And it’s a pretty questionable use of the Legislature’s time.”
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NM teachers unions want education department to slow implementation of evaluation system

Published in THE ASSOCIATED PRESS on October 26, 2013Labor Reform
ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico — New Mexico's two teacher unions want the state Public Education Department to slow its implementation of a new evaluation system for teachers and schools. The National Education Association is considering legal action, while the American Federation of Teachers New Mexico is threatening to withdraw support for renewal of a waiver that allows the state more flexibility under the federal No Child Left Behind Act. Patrick Sanchez, head of the National Education Association in Las Cruces, told the Albuquerque Journal (http://bit.ly/17PnBVw) that teachers have reached a boiling point over the department's plan. "It's pretty fierce, close to nuclear," he said. The system has provoked protests and talks of a teacher strike in Albuquerque as well as criticism from teachers and others around the state. Critics say the system places too much weight on student achievement and allows for classroom observations to be done by someone other than the school principal or assistant principal.
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Attorney General Bill Schuette opposing state employees' union appeal of right-to-work law

Written by Brian Smith for Michigan Live on October 10, 2013Labor Reform
LANSING -- Attorney General Bill Schuette has asked the Michigan Supreme Court to deny an application filed by the largest union representing Michigan state employees challenging the state's right-to-work law, saying a lower court decision was correct in upholding the law. UAW Local 6000, which represents more than 17,000 state employees, and other civil service unions are asking the state Supreme Court to review a decision from the Michigan Court of Appeals which found that the Michigan Legislature was within its authority when it enacted right-to-work legislation late last year. The unions have contended that the Legislature overstepped its bounds under the state constitution by applying the law to state employees, saying the constitution grants all authority to the state civil service commission to regulate state employees, including whether or not employees can be required to join a union. The Michigan Court of Appeals issued a split decision in August, with the majority holding the law "is a decision to further remove politics from public employment and to end all inquiry or debate about how public sector union fees are spent." Schuette, representing the state, Gov. Rick Snyder, three members of the Michigan Employment Relations Commission and himself as Attorney General, filed the brief Monday urging the Supreme Court not to review the decision, saying in the brief that there is "no need" to examine the ruling.
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Right-to-Work States Attracting More Citizens, Wealth

Eight of top 10 states increasing personal income were RTW

Written by Tom Gantert for Michigan Captiol Confidential on September 29, 2013Labor Reform
Eight of the top 10 states that saw an increase in personal income from new people coming to those states were right-to-work states, according to an analysis done by the Tax Foundation. Michigan lost $14.4 billion in personal income from 2000 to 2010 and was 45th overall. Michigan became a right-to-work state in March. Only Ohio (46th), New Jersey (47th), Illinois (48th), California (49th) and New York (50th) did worse. All six of the bottom states did not have right-to-work laws during those 10 years. New York lost $45.6 billion in personal income in that time period. Florida did the best gaining $67.3 billion in that 10-year span.

The Tax Foundation tracked people migrating from one state to another from the years 2000 to 2010. The "interstate migrants" had their income added to all the other income in that state. The state gaining that person had an increase in personal income while a state losing a person lost personal income. The figures are in 2010 dollars. Nick Kasprak, an analyst with the Tax Foundation, a nonpartisan tax research foundation based in Washington, D.C., said the analysis is based on the adjusted gross income from IRS 1040 forms. The study was not conducted specifically to address right-to-work versus non-right-to-work comparisons.
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Judge rules state cannot enforce parts of law limiting unions

Written by Patrick Marley for Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel on September 17, 2013Labor Reform
Madison — A Dane County judge ruled Tuesday the state cannot enforce key provisions of a law limiting collective bargaining against local government unions. But Circuit Judge Juan Colás declined to issue an injunction against the state, muddying the effect of his decision. Even before Tuesday's ruling the case was headed to the state Supreme Court. The high court will likely hear arguments this fall. Gov. Scott Walker and his fellow Republicans passed a law in 2011 all but eliminating collective bargaining for most public workers. A raft of lawsuits followed. Most of the cases have gone the state's way so far. A different Dane County judge blocked the law when it was first passed, but the state Supreme Court reinstated it three months later when it found lawmakers had not violated the open meetings law in approving the measure.

Earlier this year, the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the law in its entirety, and last week a federal judge in Madison dismissed another case brought by unions. But the unions have had success in Colás' court. In September 2012, Colás sided with Madison Teachers Inc. and a union representing City of Milwaukee employees by ruling the law violated local workers' constitutional rights to free speech, free association and equal representation under the law by capping union workers' raises but not those of their non-union counterparts. The state appealed, and the Court of Appeals asked the Wisconsin Supreme Court to take the case without the appeals court ruling on it. The Supreme Court agreed to take the case in June. Meanwhile, a dispute developed between the state and the unions involved in the case over whether Colás' decision applied to only the unions that sued or all unions in Wisconsin representing teachers and local workers. (Both sides agreed the decision did not apply to state employee unions.) Madison Teachers Inc. filed a motion with Colás asking him to enjoin the enforcement of Act 10, as the labor law is known, against local government unions.
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Indiana attorney general appeals ruling that 'right to work' law is unconstitutional

Written by Tim Evans for The Indianapolis Star on September 12, 2013Labor Reform
The office of Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller today appealed a Superior Court ruling that found Indiana’s “right to work” law unconstitutional. Lake Superior Court Judge John Sedia ruled last week that the law violates a provision in the state constitution barring the delivery of services "without just compensation." Sedia, who was appointed by then-Gov. Mitch Daniels in 2012, ruled the law incorrectly forces unions to represent workers who don't pay union dues. “We don’t begrudge the right of private plaintiffs to challenge a statute, but my office has a duty to defend the policy-making authority of the people’s elected representatives in the Legislature,” Zoeller said in a statement. The state’s appeal will be heard in the Indiana Supreme Court, rather than the Indiana Court of Appeals, the statement said, because the trial court declared portions of the statute unconstitutional. The law remains intact during the appeals process, the statement said. The case is Sweeney v. Zoeller.
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Indiana Right-to-Work Law Ruled Unconstitutional by State Judge

Written by Andrew Harris for Bloomberg News on September 09, 2013Labor Reform
Indiana’s right-to-work law making it a crime to charge union dues as a condition of employment was ruled unconstitutional by a state court judge. Enacted by now-former Governor Mitch Daniels last year, the measure made it a misdemeanor to require a worker to pay fees, assessments or other charges to a union or a third party to get or keep a job. Opponents called the legislation a wage-lowering union buster. State court Judge John M. Sedia in Hammond concluded it was unlawful because it forced unions to provide benefits to non-members without just compensation. “There is no court which is more loathe to declare any state statute unconstitutional than this one,” Sedia said in a Sept. 5 ruling, saying he had no choice other than to void the law. The judge delayed enforcement of his ruling during an appeal. State Attorney General Greg Zoeller’s office said today it will seek to reverse the ruling.
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Virginia lawmakers try to enshrine right-to-work law in state Constitution

Published in Fox News on September 03, 2013Labor Reform
As Americans everywhere celebrate work by taking a day off from it, the future of worker freedom in the Old Dominion isn't set in stone. And some Virginia lawmakers want to make sure it is. Virginia has long touted its status as a right to work state, meaning a person a person can't be denied a job or fired for not joining a labor union. But the law, despite its sacred status among Republicans and many Democrats, has never made it into the safety net of Virginia's Constitution. And as disagreements over the role of labor unions highlight the 2013 race for governor, the life and death of a law can hinge on who holds power. Lawmakers say the law is strong and safe for now -- but that isn't a guarantee for future generations.

"I think it's important because the right-to-work law, as great as it is -- and I'm glad we have it -- it's statute and it's always subject to change," said Delegate Richard "Dickie" Bell, who attempted in both the 2012 and 2013 sessions to pass legislation that would begin the uphill battle of  enshrining the law in the state's constitution. "An administrative change or someone with opposing views to right to work, with the right numbers in place, could overturn it," Bell said. "I don't think that'll happen in Virginia in my lifetime, but the possibility does exist. If we make it a part of the constitution, it becomes much more permanent. And undoing it would be very difficult, if not impossible." But, nearly as impossible is etching something into Virginia's Constitution. The Old Dominion requires both the Senate and House of Delegates pass a bill in two separate legislative cycles, with an election in between those passages. Then, that bill has to go to the people for a vote at the ballot box.
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Right-to-Work Laws Improve Economic Well-Being

Written by By Michael D. LaFaive and Dr. Michael J. Hicks for Mackinac Center for Public Policy on August 28, 2013Labor Reform
Michigan’s right-to-work law — which took effect earlier this year — may prove to be an economic boon for the state, particularly over time. The cumulative effect of right-to-work appears to have dramatically boosted the standard of living in the states which have adopted it. Our new study assumes that growth rates in such as things as personal income, population and employment are proxies for a state’s overall well-being. We measured changes in each over time, including a 64-year sweep from 1947 through 2011 and three other distinct and smaller time periods. According to our model, states with right-to-work laws enjoyed an annual average increase in real personal income of 0.8 percentage points and average annual population growth by 0.5 percentage points compared to what they would have experienced without such laws. From 1970 through 2011, these laws also boosted average annual employment growth by 0.8 percentage points. Data in this last category is not available back to 1947.
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On the trail: 'Right to work' still faces long odds in the legislature

Written by Jason Rosenbaum for St. Louis Beacon on August 19, 2013Labor Reform
Between three terms in the Missouri Senate and over two terms as lieutenant governor, it’s fair to say that Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder knows how the upper chamber of the Missouri General Assembly operates. That may be why Kinder’s declaration about “right to work's” legislative prospects grabbed so much attention. At a conference of the American Legislative Exchange Council in Chicago, the Associated Press quoted the Republican: “I believe we will pass right-to-work next year and bypass (Gov. Jay Nixon) entirely by putting it on the referendum ballot for voters.” “Right to work,” of course, is the shorthand supporters use to describe laws barring unions and employers from requiring workers to pay union dues if a majority vote to organize. Proponents say that companies are more attracted to states that adopt the policy.

Detractors sometimes call the proposal “right to work for less,” arguing that the goal of "right to work" is breaking organized labor's clout. They also say it would allow "freeloaders" to get the benefits of union representation without paying for it. Kinder’s remarks were somewhat surprising as they defy conventional wisdom. Even though Republicans have supermajorities in the Missouri House and the Senate, most analysts assume that any right to work proposal would have difficulty getting out of the Missouri Senate. That’s because a bloc of senators can often stall or kill legislation by talking a bill to death. It’s a near certainty all 10 members of the Senate Democratic caucus would participate, and that would be nearly impossible to stop without a “previous question” motion. And the Senate hasn't quashed debate with that maneuver since 2007.
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Court: Right-to-work law applies to state workers

Written by Associated Press for Crains Detroit Business on August 15, 2013Labor Reform
LANSING – Michigan's right-to-work law applies to 35,000 state employees, a divided state appeals court ruled Thursday in the first major legal decision on the much-debated measure eight months after it passed. Judges voted 2-1 to reject a lawsuit filed by unionized workers who make up more than two-thirds of all state employees. In a state with a heavier presence of organized labor than most, thousands of protesters came to the Capitol late last year as the Republican-backed measure won quick approval in a lame-duck session. The law prohibits forcing public and private workers in Michigan to pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment, and applies to labor contracts extended or renewed after late March. It went to court after questions were raised whether it can affect state employees, because the Michigan Civil Service Commission, which sets compensation for state employees, has separate powers under the state constitution.

The court's majority said legislators have broad authority to pass laws dealing with conditions of "all" employment while the panel has narrow power to regulate conditions of civil service employment. "In light of the First Amendment rights at stake, the Michigan Legislature has made the policy decision to settle the matter by giving all employees the right to choose," Judges Henry Saad and Pat Donofrio wrote, adding that legislators decided to "remove politics from public employment and to end all inquiry or debate about how public sector union fees are spent." Dissenting Judge Elizabeth Gleicher said the court's decision strips the civil service panel of its "regulatory supremacy" clearly laid out in the constitution, which allows the four-member commission to regulate "all conditions of employment" for civil service workers.
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Kinder: Right to work likely to go to Mo. Ballot

Written by DAVID A. LIEB for Associated Press on August 09, 2013Labor Reform
CHICAGO (AP) -- Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder is predicting that voters will get a chance to decide next year whether to halt a labor policy that requires union dues as a condition of employment in some Missouri workplaces. Kinder said while attending a Chicago conference of the American Legislative Exchange Council that he believes fellow Republicans, who hold supermajorities in both the Missouri House and Senate, will pass what supporters commonly refer to as a "right-to-work" measure. Similar legislation has been stymied in the past in Missouri, partly because of opposition from some union-friendly Republicans and partly because of an expected veto by Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon.

"I believe we will pass right-to-work next year and bypass (Nixon) entirely by putting it on the referendum ballot for voters," Kinder publicly declared during the conference. His comments came during a how-to session highlighting the recent passage of a right-to-work law in the historically unionized state of Michigan. Michigan became the 24th state to enact a right-to-work law last December, when GOP Gov. Rick Snyder signed a measure passed by that state's Republican-led Legislature. That came several months after Indiana also enacted right-to-work law. As lieutenant governor, Kinder is the highest ranking Republican state official and is the presiding officer of the Missouri Senate, though he can vote only to break ties and does not schedule bills for debate.
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Detroit Bankruptcy Another Setback For Unions

Published in The Associated Press on July 27, 2013Labor Reform
WASHINGTON (AP) — Detroit's historic bankruptcy filing is a major setback for public employee unions that have spent years trying to ward off cuts to the pensions of millions of government workers around the country. If the city's gambit succeeds, it could jeopardize an important bargaining tool for unions, which often have deferred higher wages in favor of more generous pensions and health benefits. It also could embolden other financially troubled cities dealing with pension shortfalls to consider bankruptcy, or at least take a harder line with their unions in negotiating cuts. "This is essentially the union's worst nightmare, said Gary Chaison, professor of industrial relations at Clark University in Worcester, Mass. "It means that the most sacred of sacred things they've negotiated for, the pensions of their retired members, are going to be severely cut."

Detroit's bankruptcy filing comes on the heels of some public unions losing most of their collective bargaining rights in Wisconsin. At the same time, the unions have shed thousands of members as state and local governments shrink public payrolls. The crisis of underfunded public pensions could further erode union clout. From Chicago to Cincinnati to Santa Fe, N.M., dozens of cities and counties are struggling with massive debt linked to pension liabilities. Critics say state and city employees won generous defined benefit pensions and lifetime health care from elected officials trying to curry favor with public sector unions. Unlike private employers that must fund such defined benefit pensions under the Employee Retirement Security Act, government employers are not covered by that statute. As a result, many elected officials approved such plans, leaving the financial consequences for future leaders to handle.
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Walker signs bill affecting WEDC contracts

Written by The Associated Press for The Appleton Post-Crescent on July 23, 2013Labor Reform
MADISON — Gov. Scott Walker has signed into law a bill that bans Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. employees and board members from negotiating contracts that might benefit them. Walker signed the bill Tuesday during a WEDC board meeting in Green Bay. The new law prohibits WEDC board members and employees with a monetary interest in a contract from participating in the deals or exercising any discretion on it. Walker says the law provides clear direction and adds increased transparency and accountability. The governor and the Republican-controlled Legislature created WEDC in 2011 to help the governor meet his campaign promise to create 250,000 private-sector jobs. But the agency is reeling after an audit revealed it hasn’t followed state law, adequately tracked loans and sometimes gave money to companies that didn’t qualify.
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With Diminished Clout, Unions in Detroit Face Uphill Battle

Written by CHRISTINA ROGERS and MATTHEW DOLAN for The Wall Street Journal on July 22, 2013Labor Reform
DETROIT—Detroit's municipal unions on Monday stepped up protests against proposals to slash worker benefits as part of the city's bankruptcy, but they face an uphill fight. A series of political setbacks has left union leaders scrambling for leverage as Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr, with the backing of Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, works to restructure the city's $18 billion in long-term liabilities through bankruptcy court. United Auto Workers President Bob King, speaking publicly on the Detroit bankruptcy filing for the first time Monday, said he is outraged at how the city's 20,000 public-sector employees have been treated by the governor and the city's new leadership.

"I know how bargaining can work in difficult crisis situations," Mr. King said. "In the auto industry, labor with management, the community and government, we all worked together and look at the industry now." Al Garrett, head of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 25, said the city didn't try to bargain with unions in good faith. "Part of this is to create a narrative that people say there is nothing else they can do" but file for bankruptcy, Mr. Garrett said, referring to comments by Messrs. Snyder and Orr about the dire state of the city's finances. "We say there is something they can do. They can sit down at the bargaining table."
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Kansas Teachers Vote to Decertify Their Union

Written by James Sherk and Michael Cirrotti for The Foundry on June 18, 2013Labor Reform
Teachers in Deerfield, Kansas, just did something unusual—they voted to decertify their union. The Kansas National Education Association (KNEA) no longer represents them. Teachers disliking their union representation do not make news, but teachers actually leaving their union do: The law makes it very difficult for teachers to remove unwanted unions. Unlike most public officials, unions do not stand for re-election, so their members cannot regularly hold them accountable. Workers can remove an unwanted union only by filing for decertification. But bureaucratic obstacles make it difficult to hold a vote on decertification. The hoops Deerfield’s teachers had to jump through illustrate this problem. Joel McClure, the teacher who led the effort, submitted the appropriate paperwork to the Kansas Department of Labor in November 2012. But Kansas teachers can request a vote only in a two-month window every three years. KNEA officials contested the petition by claiming that the teachers missed the December 1 deadline. (The Department of Labor had misplaced the initial petition paperwork.) Then the KNEA objected that the teachers’ attorney was not certified in Kansas and that they did not have enough signatures. However, the teachers prevailed and voted out their union—in June, just eight months after the initial submission.
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Majority of Fastest-Growing U.S. Cities Are In Right-to-Work States

77 of the top 100

Written by Tom Gantert for Michigan Capitol Confidential on June 16, 2013Labor Reform
The city of Cedar Park in Texas was the fastest growing city in terms of percentage growth from 2010 to 2012 when it increased 12 percent to 57,957 people, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics. Eight of the top 15 fastest growing cities were in Texas, a right-to-work state. The state was a big reason why 77 of the top 100 fastest-growing cities were in right-to-work states.

Eighteen right-to-work states had cities crack the top 100. There were six non-right-to-work states and Washington, D.C., that made the top 100. Three of the top 100 fastest growing cities were from Indiana, which didn’t become a right-to-work state until 2012 so its cities were not included as from a right-to-work state. Texas has the most cities in the top 100 with 27. California had nine cities and Georgia had eight. “Since the recession ended, much of the growth in the country is happening in right-to-work states,” said James Hohman, a fiscal policy analyst at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.
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Right to Work and a Test for Republicans

Ohio's economy is improving, but the GOP-controlled legislature could do even more to spur growth.

Written by KRISTINA ROEGNER for The Wall Street Journal on June 14, 2013Labor Reform
Here in the Buckeye State, we've made major economic strides over the past two and a half years. Facing an $8 billion budget deficit in 2011 and unemployment over 9%, Gov. John Kasich and the state legislature have since balanced the state budget without raising taxes, instituted common-sense regulatory reform, and even eliminated Ohio's estate tax. As a result, state-wide unemployment is down to around 7% —and companies across the country are taking notice.

According to Chief Executive Magazine's 2013 ranking of "Best and Worst States for Business," Ohio has improved more than any other state over the past year, jumping 13 places to 22nd in the nation from 35th in 2012. Still, a ranking of 22nd out of 50 states leaves plenty of room for improvement and begs the question: What do the top 10 states for business—Texas, Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee, Indiana, Arizona, Virginia, South Carolina, Nevada and Georgia—have in common? All are right-to-work states. Ohio is not. Right-to-work laws, also known as workplace-freedom laws, make union membership a worker's choice rather than a mandatory condition of employment. Twenty four states—most recently, Ohio's neighbors Indiana and Michigan—have already enacted right-to-work laws. These 24 states have a significant competitive advantage when it comes to attracting jobs.
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Right-to-work legislation, sponsored by Rep. Roegner of Hudson, gets committee hearing

Written by Marc kovac for The Stow Sentry on June 09, 2013Labor Reform
COLUMBUS -- The Republican sponsors of three measures aimed at banning mandatory union membership and dues payments had their first -- and likely only -- committee hearing June 4. Reps. Kristina Roegner (R-Hudson) and Ron Maag (R-Lebanon) used their joint appearance before the Manufacturing and Workforce Development Committee to tout the potential economic benefits of right-to-work legislation. And Democrats on the panel used the hearing to warn of the potential consequences of such law changes. Neither side appeared to sway the other. Roegner and Maag introduced separate bills last month, one focused on private sector employees and one focused on their public sector counterparts.

The two also have offered a proposed constitutional amendment to be placed before voters on the issue. It's separate from another amendment being pursued by Tea Party and related groups, which are gathering petition signatures but likely will not have enough names to qualify for the fall ballot. On June 4, the two GOP lawmakers repeated what they and other proponents have said about right-to-work laws -- that such changes would make the state more competitive and attractive to businesses and help Ohio keep pace with two dozen other states, including bordering Indiana and Michigan, that have comparable laws already in place
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