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PA teacher’s unions still charging unconstitutional fees

Westlake Legal Group teachers PA teacher’s unions still charging unconstitutional fees unions union fees The Blog teacher's unions Pennsylvania Janus v AFSCME

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Janus v AFSCME, it appeared as if the question had been settled. The state cannot force public sector workers who are not members of a union to pay dues (or “fair share fees”) to that union to support its political speech. This practice is a violation of the worker’s First Amendment rights. But it seems that at least one teacher’s union in Pennsylvania didn’t get the memo. They’re still doing it, and now a few of their victims are taking them to court. (Free Beacon)

Pennsylvania teachers’ unions continue to include mandatory fees from nonmembers in new contracts despite a Supreme Court decision that declared coercive payments unconstitutional, according to a lawsuit.

The lawsuit comes in the wake of the 2018 Janus v. American Federation of State County & Municipal Employees ruling. The 5-4 decision said that government agencies violated the First Amendment rights of workers if they required employees to pay dues or fees to labor organizations. Democratic Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf, who did not respond to requests for comment, benefited from nearly $6 million in PAC spending from government unions during his reelection campaign.

One non-union teacher suing to enforce the Janus ruling in Pennsylvania called the situation “absurd.”

“Absurd” is certainly a pretty good word for it. How on Earth is this union still finalizing contracts with these fees in them? They’re simply ignoring the Supreme Court and continuing to do business as usual.

Part of the problem appears to come from Pennsylvania state law and a previous court ruling. Pennsylvania still has pre-Janus laws regarding fair share fees on the books. When a group of teachers went to court seeking to have the laws struck down, a U.S. District Court judge somehow ruled that “the onus of enforcement should fall on labor unions to end the practice.”

So let’s see if I’ve got this straight. The non-union members had to go all the way to the Supreme Court to have the fees declared unconstitutional, but this judge feels that the responsibility for seeing that the unions comply with the Janus ruling should fall on the unions that the ruling was reigning in? We can see how well that’s working out. There are at least seven school districts where the unions have continued to work fair-share fees into their contracts and they are still collecting the fees.

What’s worse, as the Free Beacon reminds us, is that a recent poll showed that as many as half of the non-union teachers they surveyed were somehow either unaware of the Janus ruling or didn’t understand it sufficiently to know their rights. It also doesn’t help that some of these unions have been caught putting out bogus information, telling teachers who wanted to opt out of the fees that the ruling didn’t apply to them or that they might lose all their benefits if they chose to do so.

The whole reason the teachers needed that ruling in the first place was that the unions were acting in a dishonest fashion. For a judge to turn around and place the burden of enforcement on the unions is simply a case of telling the fox to guard the henhouse. This needs to come to an end immediately.

The post PA teacher’s unions still charging unconstitutional fees appeared first on Hot Air.

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On Labor Day 2019, Americans strongly support unions, just not belonging

Westlake Legal Group RobotCarAssemblyLine715 On Labor Day 2019, Americans strongly support unions, just not belonging unions unionization The Blog Labor Day

This is quintessential America, as the country marks the 125th anniversary of an official Labor Day.

Nearly two-out-of-three Americans support labor unions. But only one-in-ten put their money where their mouth is and become members.

The idea of a formal federal holiday to celebrate the average working American gained strength in the late 19th century at the height of the Industrial Revolution as the once dominant rural agrarian economy began shrinking.

Union organizers had pushed the idea for some time. OK, there were riots too. Low and poor working conditions created an eager membership. It seems many worked 12-hour days, seven days a week, often in fetid conditions.

President Grover Cleveland signed the measure in 1894 to create a misnamed federal Labor Day holiday when everyone would refrain from labor.

A new Gallup poll found strikingly increased support for unions. Between the mid-1930s, when it first asked the question, and the mid-1960s professed support for organized labor averaged 68 percent.

In 1967, that support began dropping and has averaged about 10 points less in succeeding years of the question.

Now, however, support has surged to 64 percent, among the highest levels in the past half-century. Only in 1999 and 2003 has support been slightly higher.

Historically, support has run higher during times of strong job growth and low unemployment, such as now, and lower support during difficult economic times such as the Obama administration.

Paradoxically, however, actual union membership has sunk again. It’s now just 10 percent of the labor force, down from 13 percent in recent years.

Employed workers between ages 35 and 54 are more than twice as likely to be union members (13 percent) as the coming generation of younger employees from age 18 to 34.

Workers down South are least likely to belong to a union (5 percent), while workers in the East and West are more likely (15 and 14 percent respectively). The Midwest, a more recent political battleground over right-to-work laws has about 10 percent membership.

Not a shocker that government workers report the highest unionization rate at 37 percent.

All of which may help explain why Labor Day has become for many less about celebrating factory workers and more about marking the unofficial end of summer.

The post On Labor Day 2019, Americans strongly support unions, just not belonging appeared first on Hot Air.

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A Group of Chicago Teachers Union Members Travels to Venezuela & Reports The Shocking Findings: It’s Fantastic!

Westlake Legal Group venezuela-991906_1280-620x349 A Group of Chicago Teachers Union Members Travels to Venezuela & Reports The Shocking Findings: It’s Fantastic! wttw Venezuela unions Uncategorized socialism sarah chambers prostitution jesse sharkey Illinois Front Page Stories Featured Story Education democrats chicago tonight Chicago Teachers Union Chicago Allow Media Exception Academia

 

 

The world of politics is a constant reminder that not everyone draws the same conclusions.

So is — incidentally — green bean casserole.

That stuff is nasty.

Anyway, here’s another case in point:

Three Illinois educators and a union organizer recently crowdfunded a trip to that most desirable of vacation destinations, Venezuela.

In response to what they saw, the Chicago Teachers Union crew praised the beleaguered nation on social media.

As reported by the Chicago Tribune Monday, during their South American romp, they met government officials and teachers and visited a commune. They even got local media coverage.

Stuff they admired: the country’s literacy rates, those fabulous communes…and its socialist system.

Not everyone’s psyched about their portrayal.

From the Tribune:

[C]ritics say the group glossed over Venezuela’s ongoing political and economic crises and were excessively complimentary of President Nicolás Maduro, whose administration has been accused in recent United Nations reports of “grave” human rights violations and violence against dissenters.

Count teacher and union member Karen Moody among the nay-sayers. Here’s what she had to offer:

“I am appalled a delegation representing themselves as CTU went to Venezuela, not to support striking teachers, not to object to human rights violations, but to go on what appears to be a state-chaperoned propaganda tour.”

However, union President Jesse Sharkey assured WTTW’s Chicago Tonight that the trip wasn’t sanctioned in any way:

“Members go all kinds of places in the summer. This was neither an official trip nor something that was funded by the union. This is a group of people who are members of the CTU who decided to go to Venezuela.”

That’s all well and good, but how does he explain the union’s Twitter account retweeting the group’s updates? One blog entry was titled “Introduction to CTU Delegation to Venezuela.”

Here’s a message passed along by the union’s page, courtesy of CTU traveler Sarah Chambers — who’s also a member of the board:

“While staying in #Venezuela, we didn’t see a single homeless person. USA is the richest country in the world; yet, there are homeless people everywhere. Over 17k CPS students are homeless… This is why @CTULocal1 is fighting for fair housing #CTUAgainstVezIntervention.”

They’re fighting!

How about a fight against children prostituting themselves, and straight men working as gay hookers? That’s also happened in Venezuela, thanks to the swell system — see here.

In response to an online critic, Sarah defended her favorable review of the big V by touting her analytical mind:

“Have you visited Venezuela & spoke to 100s there? As a teacher, I teach my students to be critical thinkers, to get primary sources, listen to ppl’s stories & do research before just believing any news. I suggest you do the same.”

One GoFundMe donor saluted the CTU strike at “imperialism”:

“Proud of the CTU for their brave and visionary anti-imperialist resolution and enactment of ‘teacher-to-teacher’ solidarity between Chicago and Venezuelan teachers!”

Speaking to Fight Back! News, Sarah also bragged on Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro for his stellar job:

“Through major economic hardships, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro never closed a single public school or a single health clinic. This stands in stark contrast to our experience in Chicago, where Mayor Rahm Emanuel closed 50 public schools and several mental health clinics in a single year.”

As pointed out by The Daily Wire, the blog reporting all the glories of a nation that’s struggled to find the radical modernity of toilet paper was named the Radical Educator Collective.

It’s radical alright.

-ALEX

 

Relevant RedState links in this article: here.

See 3 more pieces from me:

FBI Arrests Alleged Would-Be Neo-Nazi Terrorist Before He Can Commit Mass Murder At A Las Vegas Synagogue

Hollywood’s Rosanna Arquette Apologizes For Being White. She Announces Her Shame & Disgust Over Her Birth

Brazilian Gang Leader & Drug Trafficker Attempts A Prison Break In One Of The Craziest & Most Hilarious Ways Possible

Find all my RedState work here.

And please follow Alex Parker on Twitter and Facebook.

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The post A Group of Chicago Teachers Union Members Travels to Venezuela & Reports The Shocking Findings: It’s Fantastic! appeared first on RedState.

Westlake Legal Group venezuela-991906_1280-300x169 A Group of Chicago Teachers Union Members Travels to Venezuela & Reports The Shocking Findings: It’s Fantastic! wttw Venezuela unions Uncategorized socialism sarah chambers prostitution jesse sharkey Illinois Front Page Stories Featured Story Education democrats chicago tonight Chicago Teachers Union Chicago Allow Media Exception Academia   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

‘Every Major Union’ In The U.S. Has Undocumented Immigrant Members

Westlake Legal Group rich-trumka-620x317 ‘Every Major Union’ In The U.S. Has Undocumented Immigrant Members unions UFCW Teamsters Richard Trumka immigration illegal immgration Front Page Stories Featured Story afl-cio

National AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka speaks in Portland, Ore., Monday, May 18, 2015, about the organization’s concerns over the Trans-Pacific Partnership treaty that President Obama is pushing. Trumka’s visit comes as the U.S. Senate prepares to vote on so-called fast-track legislation that would let Obama pursue the 12-nation trade deal.(AP Photo/Don Ryan)

Despite evidence that illegal immigration hurts American workers, reduces overall wages, and burdens the welfare system, unions take dues from and fight to protect illegal immigrants on the job.

In early August, when ICE swept up nearly 700 undocumented immigrants working at chicken plants in Mississippi, James P. Hoffa, President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, condemned the raids.

The undocumented workers, after all, were represented by a union—the United Food and Commercial Workers.

The union movement and its allies on the Left were apoplectic.

Despite the fact entering the United States illegally is, in fact, a crime—as is stealing Americans’ identification to acquire employment—today’s union movement continues to defend and fight for illegal immigrants.

In Mississippi, at one of the raided plants, “the vast majority of the immigrants employed at the plant are undocumented and using fake biographical information,” reported the Clarion Ledger.

At Pearl River Foods in Carthage, agents analyzed employee rolls and found that numerous workers were using stolen identities, Social Security cards that didn’t match their names, or using Social Security cards reported to belong to dead people.

In at least two cases at Pearl River Foods, the allegedly stolen personal information came from people who discovered that someone else had applied for work under their names when they tried to apply for food assistance or unemployment benefits. [Emphasis added.]

While the chicken plants were temporarily without workers, within a short time, hundreds of American job-seekers flocked to a job fair, hoping to get the jobs previously held by the illegal immigrants.

The fact that illegal immigration depresses wages and causes higher unemployment should be cause for concern for so-called “worker advocates.”

However, in 2000, the Executive Council of the AFL-CIO—the largest federation of labor unions in the United States—voted to reverse its long-standing opposition to illegal immigration calling for “an immediate amnesty for undocumented immigrants, and an end to sanctions on employers who hire them.”

Ever since then, the leadership of the AFL-CIO and its member unions have welcomed illegal immigrants into their ranks with some even going so far as to declare themselves “sanctuary unions.”

In 2017, in the face of increased scrutiny the AFL-CIO published a “toolkit,” entitled We Will Defend and Resist, “to equip labor and community organizers, advocates and law practitioners with the necessary information to navigate escalating attacks on immigrant workers and their families.”

After all, “every major union in the United States has immigrant members, documented and undocumented,” states the pro-union Labor Notes.

While there is a separate argument that unions knowingly representing undocumented immigrants is aiding and abetting illegal activity, the fact of the matter is, illegal immigrants depress the wages of American workers.

In fact, according to U.S. Census Bureau data, the median income of “Non Citizens” is more than $9,000 than black Americans.

Overall, Hispanics earn nearly $10,000 more than than black Americans.

Additionally, according to the Center for Immigration Studies, “63 percent of households headed by a non-citizen reported that they used at least one welfare program, compared to 35 percent of native-headed households.”

This costs all Americans through the form either deficit spending or higher taxes.

Yet, despite the toll of illegal immigration has on American workers, unions continue to represent undocumented workers, taking their dues money and fighting their deportations.

Related:


“Truth isn’t mean. It’s truth.”
Andrew Breitbart (1968-2012)

Cross-posted from LaborUnionReport.com

The post ‘Every Major Union’ In The U.S. Has Undocumented Immigrant Members appeared first on RedState.

Westlake Legal Group rich-trumka-300x153 ‘Every Major Union’ In The U.S. Has Undocumented Immigrant Members unions UFCW Teamsters Richard Trumka immigration illegal immgration Front Page Stories Featured Story afl-cio   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Barstool Sports President Isn’t Backing Down from AOC, Challenges Her to a Debate Again

Westlake Legal Group AlexandriaOcasioCortez-June2019-620x317 Barstool Sports President Isn’t Backing Down from AOC, Challenges Her to a Debate Again unions union Politics Front Page Stories fox news Featured Story Dave Portnoy comedy Barstool Sports AOC Allow Media Exception Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., listens during questioning at a House Oversight and Reform committee hearing on facial recognition technology in government, Tuesday, June 4, 2019, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

If you haven’t seen what’s going down between the comedy site Barstool Sports and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, then you’re missing out one of the greatest Twitter spats in history.

What makes it so great is the fact that Barstool Sports President Dave Portnoy isn’t just stopping at not backing down from AOC, he’s actively antagonizing her.

For backstory, the Twitter spat started when a pro-union journalist told Barstool Sports employees to reach out to him if they want help getting a unionization process started. Portnoy responded by tweeting out that if any of his employees DM this man, he’ll fire them on the spot.

He also made it clear that if they reached out to a lawyer looking to unionize these workers pro-bono, he’d do worse.

This was clearly all for the sake of humor, as Barstool employees aren’t at all looking to unionize. Portnoy was having fun getting a rise out of pro-union activist journalists and attorneys.

As we all know, though, humor isn’t exactly the left’s strong point, and the point of all this was clearly missed by the least humorous person on the planet, AOC. Taking to Twitter, she attempted to sic the mob on Portnoy while threatening him with the shadow of legal action.

Usually, at this point, people back down when it comes to responses to AOC. They fear the sudden mob that comes at them and the fact that AOC is crazy enough to mount some kind of movement against that person.

Portnoy, however, went full steam ahead and challenged AOC to a debate.

It’s beautiful.

They should have sent a poet.

Not only that, Portnoy continued to challenge any pro-union person who came at him on Twitter. It was fun to watch to say the least. You can see more at Louder with Crowder.

Now that you’re all caught up, we can fast forward to the present, where Portnoy is appearing on Fox News and calling AOC “O’Crazio” and lording it over her that while she can’t seem to raise a dime within her own district, her outrage toward him is filling up his coffers with record numbers.

Portnoy also renewed his request for AOC to debate him, which he doesn’t think is going to happen.

Hilariously, others have taken to trolling AOC over her attempts at intimidating a business leader. For instance, someone slapped a Barstool Sports sticker onto her office name placard.

While AOC’s mob can look intimidating, at the end of the day, it’s really just a lot of bluster. Portnoy seems to be one of the few business leaders to get this and has no trouble poking AOC and her regressive fans till they explode from the sheer outrage.

Perhaps we could all learn from Portnoy.

Westlake Legal Group AlexandriaOcasioCortez-June2019-620x317 Barstool Sports President Isn’t Backing Down from AOC, Challenges Her to a Debate Again unions union Politics Front Page Stories fox news Featured Story Dave Portnoy comedy Barstool Sports AOC Allow Media Exception Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., listens during questioning at a House Oversight and Reform committee hearing on facial recognition technology in government, Tuesday, June 4, 2019, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

The post Barstool Sports President Isn’t Backing Down from AOC, Challenges Her to a Debate Again appeared first on RedState.

Westlake Legal Group ocasio-cortez_1-300x169 Barstool Sports President Isn’t Backing Down from AOC, Challenges Her to a Debate Again unions union Politics Front Page Stories fox news Featured Story Dave Portnoy comedy Barstool Sports AOC Allow Media Exception Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

AOC vs the Stoolies’ boss

Westlake Legal Group AOC-pointing AOC vs the Stoolies’ boss unions The Blog Barstool Sports AOC Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

I almost started this article with a warning that it was going to get very weird very quickly, but it has AOC right in the title so I’m guessing you already assumed that. And for once, it’s not about any new crazy theories of how to pay for Medicare for All or anything along those lines.

This week the freshman New York Congresswoman finds herself in a spat with the president of Barstool Sports, David Portnoy, over a question of unionization. Or at least that’s what’s being described by Free Beacon reporter Bill McMorris. In any event, a union activist with the Writers Guild East apparently sent out an open invitation to the writers at Barstool Sports if any of them wanted some information on how to unionize. This brought a swift and seemingly brutal response from their president, David Portnoy.

Rafi Letzter, a staff writer for Live Science and union activist with the Writers Guild East, invited Stoolies, as the site’s fans and writers are called, to contact him via Twitter.

“If you work for Barstool and want to have a private chat about the unionization process, how little power your boss has to stop you, and how you can leverage that power to make your life better: my DMs are open,” Letzter said.

Portnoy responded rapidly.

And that’s where AOC gets dragged into the discussion, seemingly informing Portnoy that he can be sued for saying something like that.

It goes downhill from there, and you can read all of the details at McMorris’ article linked above. Portnoy challenges AOC to a debate. She doesn’t respond. It’s kind of crazy.

The icing on the cake comes when McMorris finishes his report on a personal note, stating that the Free Beacon has been approached in the past about unionizing, but it never happened because of, “aggressive countermeasures and intimidation tactics by Free Beacon senior management.” He then goes on to quote Free Beacon co-founder and president Aaron Harison as threatening to kill any of his writers who tried to unionize. Thankfully, that part was just a joke.

But the rest of it was real. So let’s examine the public/private statements being tossed around here. First of all, Portnoy supposedly tweeted (in all seriousness) that he would fire anyone who sent a DM to a union rep. If that wasn’t a joke, he’s just opened himself up to a fresh hell of his own making and lawsuits as far as the eye can see. (Mark this date. I’m going to publicly state that AOC was right about something.) And the champion riding to the rescue of his employees is AOC?

It’s getting harder and harder to tell what’s real from what’s fantasy in American politics these days. Welcome to 2019 I suppose.

The post AOC vs the Stoolies’ boss appeared first on Hot Air.

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Here’s the Trailer for ‘The Irishman’—The Mob Movie About The Hit On Jimmy Hoffa

Westlake Legal Group THE-IRISHMAN-620x340 Here’s the Trailer for ‘The Irishman’—The Mob Movie About The Hit On Jimmy Hoffa unions The Irishman Teamsters Movies mafia jimmy hoffa Hoffa's Hitman Front Page Stories Featured Story

Screenshot of the trailer for ‘The Irishman’ via Youtube.

The long-awaited Martin Scorsese film, starring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci, about Jimmy Hoffa’s alleged killer is due out in the fall. Here’s the trailer…

Netflix has finally scheduled the long-awaited and highly-anticipated gangster epic, The Irishman—which is based on Charles Brandt’s book “I Heard You Paint Houses”—for release this fall.

Scorsese’s The Irishman stars De Niro as Frank Sheeran, a World War II veteran who became a mob hitman, as well as president of the Delaware Teamsters Local 326, and played a role in Jimmy Hoffa’s disappearance. Pacino is starring as notorious mob-connected union boss Hoffa and Pesci plays Pennsylvania-based mob boss Russell Bufalino.

WATCH:

Related:

__________________
“Truth isn’t mean. It’s truth.”
Andrew Breitbart (1969-2012)

Cross-posted from LaborUnionReport.com

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The post Here’s the Trailer for ‘The Irishman’—The Mob Movie About The Hit On Jimmy Hoffa appeared first on RedState.

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The Sanders Campaign Allegedly Isn’t Holding Up Labor Agreements and Is Firing Union Staffers Who Complain

Westlake Legal Group bernie-sanders-flickr-cc-620x349 The Sanders Campaign Allegedly Isn’t Holding Up Labor Agreements and Is Firing Union Staffers Who Complain unions union Politics Labor Front Page Stories Featured Story elections democrats charges campaign Bernie Sanders Allow Media Exception 2020

Watching the hard left collapse in on itself is one of those simple pleasures in life that make it all worth it. Especially when its the campaign of America’s top “democratic socialist” and 2020 contender Sen. Bernie Sanders who has found himself being charged by labor unions for not upholding agreements with union members he employs.

According to The Hill, the charges claim the Sanders campaign allegedly fired union employees who were trying to push the campaign to uphold contract agreements the campaign had made with the union. The campaign was failing to do so, and when union workers complained, the campaign reportedly had them fired:

The charge, which was filed with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) by a former campaign employee on July 22, also alleges that the campaign violated a collective bargaining agreement with unionized workers by making staffers work additional days and failing to provide commensurate days off.

When the individual asked the campaign to abide by the terms of the collective bargaining agreement, management retaliated, the charge alleges.

The person who submitted the charge has so far remained anonymous but alleges that they were attacked after sending the email requesting compliance.

“[Campaign management] retaliated against me when I organized the bargaining unit and sent an email requesting compliance with the [collective bargaining agreement],” the anonymous person wrote in the charge according to The Hill.

The Sanders campaign has been plagued with union problems in this election cycle. Earlier this week, Sanders ran into a payment controversy where he wasn’t dishing out $15/hr to his employees. In order to fix the problem, Sanders promised to pay his staff the full $15, but in order to do so, had to fire some staffers and increase hours on the ones that remained.

Some socialist.

As I wrote of the debacle, Sanders continues to prove that Sanders is proof that socialism can’t work and that even the most ardent of socialists don’t truly believe in socialism when it comes to their own personal business.

 

The post The Sanders Campaign Allegedly Isn’t Holding Up Labor Agreements and Is Firing Union Staffers Who Complain appeared first on RedState.

Westlake Legal Group bernie-sanders-flickr-cc-300x169 The Sanders Campaign Allegedly Isn’t Holding Up Labor Agreements and Is Firing Union Staffers Who Complain unions union Politics Labor Front Page Stories Featured Story elections democrats charges campaign Bernie Sanders Allow Media Exception 2020   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Is Bernie Sanders’ Campaign Violating Workplace Laws?

Westlake Legal Group gs-bernie-sanders2-620x413 Is Bernie Sanders’ Campaign Violating Workplace Laws? unions NLRB NLRA Front Page Stories FLSA Featured Story democrats Bernie Sanders hypocrisy Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders by Gage Skidmore, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0/Original

A Washington Post article last week exposed three areas where the Bernie Sanders campaign *may* be violating workplace laws. Since then, Sanders himself exposed another possible violation.


[See DISCLAIMER below.]

Last week, the Washington Post ran an article (in full here) about a labor dispute between management and unionized staff within the Bernie Sanders campaign.

The crux of the dispute stems from campaign field organizers’ assertion that they are being paid a salary of $36,000 but “working 60 hours per week at minimum, dropping their average hourly pay to less than $13.”

While many focused on the apparent hypocrisy of Sanders paying his own workers less than the $15 minimum wage he touts out on the campaign trail, Sanders quickly addressed the problem by reducing the staffers’ hours.

Although Sanders may have dodged the PR dilemma, there are several potentially-bigger issues (and questions) that the Washington Post article exposed.

They are:

1. Is the Sanders campaign misclassifying non-exempt employees as exempt?

Most employers (and their employees) in the United States are governed by federal laws (as well as individual state laws).

One of those federal laws is the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938.

Among other things (like banning child labor), the FLSA mandates that employers pay employees the minimum wage, as well as overtime after 40 hours of work…unless they are classified as exempt from the FLSA.

It seems pretty clear from the Washington Post article that Sanders is treating his field organizers as exempt salaried employees. But, are they?

Westlake Legal Group Sanders-Field-Organizers-620x172 Is Bernie Sanders’ Campaign Violating Workplace Laws? unions NLRB NLRA Front Page Stories FLSA Featured Story democrats Bernie Sanders hypocrisy Bernie Sanders

Screenshot of an excerpt from the Washington Post’s “Labor fight roils Bernie Sanders campaign, as workers demand the $15 hourly pay the candidate has proposed for employees nationwide,” dated July 18, 2019

“Employees whose jobs are governed by the FLSA are either ‘exempt’ or ‘nonexempt,’” according to one legal summary. “Nonexempt employees are entitled to overtime pay. Exempt employees are not.”

With few exceptions, to be exempt an employee must (a) be paid at least $23,600 per year ($455 per week), and (b) be paid on a salary basis, and also (c) perform exempt job duties. These requirements are outlined in the FLSA Regulations (promulgated by the U.S. Department of Labor). Most employees must meet all three “tests” to be exempt.

It seems clear that the Sanders team is in compliance with part (a) and (b) as listed above, but what about part (c)?

Are the field organizers actually doing “outside sales” (exempt), or are they doing “inside sales” (non-exempt) in compliance with the Department of Labor’s salary test [see DOL fact sheet in PDF here]?

  • One side note: If a field organizer takes a few days off (e.g., to visit family or some other non-protected reason), does the Sanders campaign dock that employee’s pay? If so, that could also put the employee into a non-exempt category.

[If, in the off-chance, the Sanders campaign is classifying its employees as “independent contractors, that opens up a whole new set of hypocritical issues for the socialist senator.]


2. If employees are indeed misclassified, a) was it willful, and b) does the Sanders campaign owe back pay for overtime?

If Sanders has misclassified employees, his campaign may owe campaign workers a lot of money.

As noted here last week, “if the Sanders campaign workers are not exempt from the FLSA and are entitled to overtime, they should be making nearly $26 per hour for every hour worked over 40 instead of the $12 they’re averaging now.”

If, for example, the workers are entitled to overtime, worked 60 hours and were not paid for it, Sanders may owe each of them hundreds of dollars for each week they worked between 40 and 60 hours.

If there are willful violations, the Department of Labor has the ability to impose treble damages.

Ironically, Sanders (and other Democrats) have been outspoken in asking the Department of Labor to investigate employers they believe have misclassified employees under the FLSA.

Perhaps the same should be asked for the Sanders campaign?


3. Was Sanders’ campaign management direct dealing with unionized staff?

In May, Bernie Sanders proudly announced to the media that his campaign staffers had unionized with the United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW), Local 400.

While it remains unclear whether Sanders and his campaign management encouraged unionization (which, itself, could be deemed coercive under the National Labor Relations Act), one passage in the Washington Post’s article bears some scrutiny:

First this (from the Washington Post):

The union and the Sanders campaign reached a collective bargaining agreement that went into effect on May 2 and expires on March 31, 2021.

Then this

Westlake Legal Group Sanders-Direct-Dealing-620x260 Is Bernie Sanders’ Campaign Violating Workplace Laws? unions NLRB NLRA Front Page Stories FLSA Featured Story democrats Bernie Sanders hypocrisy Bernie Sanders

Screenshot of an excerpt from the Washington Post’s “Labor fight roils Bernie Sanders campaign, as workers demand the $15 hourly pay the candidate has proposed for employees nationwide,” dated July 18, 2019

If the Washington Post article is stating the facts correctly (a big ‘if’), Bernie Sanders’ campaign got a signed-union contract on May 2.

Then, after the contract went into effect, Sanders campaign manager Faiz Shakir called “an all-staff meeting, during which he recommended raising the pay for field organizers to $42,000 and changing the workweek specifications…”

If that description of events is accurate, that could be a potential violation of the National Labor Relations Act, as it infers that management [Shakir] was circumventing the union by “direct dealing” with employees.

Here is what the National Labor Relations Board states [in PDF]:

Once an employee representative has been designated by a majority of the employees in an appropriate unit, the Act makes that representative the exclusive bargaining agent for all employees in the unit….Once a collective-bargaining representative has been designated or selected by its employees, it is illegal for an employer to bargain with individual employees, with a group of employees, or with another employee representative.

While the actual facts of the meeting may differ from what was reported in the Washington Post, if they are indeed accurate and management met directly with unionized employees, either campaign staffers or their union (the UFCW), if they wanted to, could file unfair labor practice charges against campaign management with the National Labor Relations Board.


4. Are Sanders’ own statements violating employees’ rights?

Following the kerfuffle that the Washington Post article reported on, Bernie Sanders reportedly later commented that it was “really not acceptable” and that it was “improper” that “people are going out outside the process and going to the media.”

Here’s how it was reported in the Des Moines Register:

He [Sanders] also expressed frustration that staffers had taken their complaints to the media.

“It does bother me that people are going outside of the process and going to the media,” he said. “That is really not acceptable. It is really not what labor negotiations are about, and it’s improper.”

Sanders said, ahead of a weekend Iowa campaign swing: “We are disappointed that some individuals have decided to damage the integrity of these efforts. We are involved in negotiations. And some are individuals that have decided to damage the integrity of that process before they were concluded.”

Although the Senator may not realize it, employees are afforded many rights under Section Seven of the National Labor Relations Act.

Among those rights are the right to engaged in “protected, concerted activity” (with or without a union).

Prohibiting employees against talking to the press about their wages or working conditions could be deemed unlawful.

In fact, only recently, the NLRB issued further clarification on this point:

In a memo released on April 15, the agency evaluated a case where a company maintained a policy that prohibited employees from speaking to the media at any time. The NLRB found this rule to be unlawful and explained: “Employees have a statutory right to speak publically about their complaints or concerns with their terms and conditions of employment, including to the press, without employer authorization.”

Despite the fact that he is running a political campaign, Sanders is an employer–and like the CEO of his campaign.

If employees were to interpret his statements as potential threats that adverse action may be taken against them for speaking to the press, Sanders could have charges filed against him.

As stated above, beside the press accounts as reported, it is uncertain what the actual facts are. However, as described, the reporters’ accounts may, in fact, warrant a closer look into whether or not Bernie Sanders and his campaign are violating its workers’ rights.


DISCLAIMER: The questions raised herein are questions that are based on a Washington Post article and dependent on the reporters’ statements in the article. Without a formal investigation, there can be no way of knowing if, in fact, the reporters’ statement are accurate, nor whether the Sanders’ campaign is in violation of the National Labor Relations Act or the Fair Labor Standards Act—nor should this be construed as an accusation of such.

____________________
“Truth isn’t mean. It’s truth.”
Andrew Breitbart (1968-2012)

Cross-posted from LaborUnionReport.com

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The post Is Bernie Sanders’ Campaign Violating Workplace Laws? appeared first on RedState.

Westlake Legal Group gs-bernie-sanders2-300x200 Is Bernie Sanders’ Campaign Violating Workplace Laws? unions NLRB NLRA Front Page Stories FLSA Featured Story democrats Bernie Sanders hypocrisy Bernie Sanders   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

SHOCK: Bernie Sanders Pays LESS Than $15 and NO OVERTIME!

Westlake Legal Group gs-bernie-sanders-620x413 SHOCK: Bernie Sanders Pays LESS Than $15 and NO OVERTIME! United Food & Commercial Workers unions UFCW Sanders campaign staffers not paid $15 minimum wage Front Page Stories FLSA Featured Story democrats Bernie Sanders 2020

Bernie Sanders by Gage Skidmore, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0/Original

Perhaps it’s time for Bernie Sanders to put his money where his mouth is and pay his staffers a “living wage”—and the overtime they should be entitled to.

For all is rhetoric, it may turn out that socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders is just another hypocritical politician who takes money from big corporations, invests in Wall Street and, reportedly, pays his workers “poverty wages” (and NO overtime)—despite the fact that they’re unionized.

Back in March, to show his “pro-union” bonafides, Bernie Sanders made headlines when he encouraged his staffers to unionize with the United Food & Commercial Workers, turning his campaign into the first-ever unionized presidential campaign.

However, as often happens when activists who campaign to dictate standards upon others actually have to live under those standards, things do not always go as planned.

On Thursday, the same day that the House of Representatives passed a bill to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour—which Sanders has long advocated for—the Washington Post ran an article that shed some light on a wage dispute that is currently going on within his campaign.

Apparently, Sanders’ campaign workers are lashing out at campaign management regarding the low wages that they are receiving.

“I am struggling financially to do my job, and in my state, we’ve already had 4 people quit in the past 4 weeks because of financial struggles,” one field organizer reportedly wrote on a message board to Sanders’ campaign manager Faiz Shakir.

Another employee wrote his co-workers “shouldn’t have to get payday loans to sustain themselves.”

Then, there was this interesting statement:

The draft letter estimated that field organizers were working 60 hours per week at minimum, dropping their average hourly pay to less than $13. [Emphasis added.]

Westlake Legal Group Sanders-Hypocrisy-620x446 SHOCK: Bernie Sanders Pays LESS Than $15 and NO OVERTIME! United Food & Commercial Workers unions UFCW Sanders campaign staffers not paid $15 minimum wage Front Page Stories FLSA Featured Story democrats Bernie Sanders 2020

Screenshot of an excerpt from the Washington Post’s article “Labor fight roils Bernie Sanders campaign, as workers demand the $15 hourly pay the candidate has proposed for employees nationwide,” posted July 17, 2019

As field organizers are paid an annual salary of $36,000 under their new union contract, things would be fine—if they are only working 40 hours per week.

However, it appears they are not.

If they are truly working 60 hours per week (or 3,000 hours per year), on a salary of $36,000, they are only making $12 per hour, instead of the $17.30 they should be making on a standard 40-hour week, 2,080-hours per work year.

Obviously, $12 per hour is far less than the $15 Bernie Sanders claims to support.

However, it’s worse than that.

Based on the article, it also appears that Sanders is not paying overtime.

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938, employees who are not exempted from the law are entitled to time and one half pay for every hour worked after 40 hours in a given workweek.

[Some states (and, more importantly, some union contracts) actually mandate time and one half after eight hours.]

If the Sanders campaign workers are not exempt from the FLSA and are entitled to overtime, they should be making nearly $26 per hour for every hour worked over 40.

Following the 2016 election, the DNC was sued by former field organizers who alleged that the “the state party defendants conspired with one another and with Defendant DNC to unlawfully designate Plaintiffs, and those similarly situated, as exempt employees under the FLSA and applicable state wage statutes, thereby denying Plaintiffs full and appropriate compensation.”

Unfortunately for the DNC’s field organizers, the suit was dismissed in 2018.

In dismissing the overtime suit, according to this summary, “the Court relied on an often-overlooked defense to the Fair Labor Standard Act (“FLSA”) – namely, that the FLSA only covers employees engaged in interstate commerce as opposed to employees engaged in purely local activities. [Emphasis added.]”

That case involved multiple state parties (as well as the DNC)–and not a singular candidate.

In the case of Bernie Sanders, however, a court could determine his campaign to be a singular employer…and, if so, it is definitely operating across state lines (interstate commerce).

It is also possible that the new union contract may aid a court in establishing that employees are not exempted from the FLSA. However, neither the campaign, nor the UFCW has released the contract to the public.

Perhaps it’s time for Bernie Sanders to, quite literally, put his money where his mouth is.

Related:

_______________________
“Truth isn’t mean. It’s truth.”
Andrew Breitbart (1968-2012)

Cross-posted from LaborUnionReport.com

Follow on Twitter.

The post SHOCK: Bernie Sanders Pays LESS Than $15 and NO OVERTIME! appeared first on RedState.

Westlake Legal Group gs-bernie-sanders-300x200 SHOCK: Bernie Sanders Pays LESS Than $15 and NO OVERTIME! United Food & Commercial Workers unions UFCW Sanders campaign staffers not paid $15 minimum wage Front Page Stories FLSA Featured Story democrats Bernie Sanders 2020   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com