Archive for May, 2015

Dubious Methods

The UFCW’s random strikes against Walmart might be illegal.

Can Walmart workers have it both ways? A labor “tactic du jour” is intermittent one-day strikes. Historically, employees can work or strike, but they can’t lawfully do both: so-called “intermittent” strikes have not been legally protected. But one-day protests have been the hallmark of a campaign by Our Walmart, which is affiliated with and funded by the United Food and Commercial Workers union (one-day protests are also a hallmark of the “Fight for $15” and affiliated campaigns against retailers and fast food chains). Walmart allegedly warned its would-be strikers in advance of their walkouts that it considered their activity to be “unprotected,” and then disciplined or discharged some of the employees for attendance policy violations. Not surprisingly, Walmart is now defending against an NLRB complaint. According to Walmart (and prior case law), the workers have a right to strike, but they don’t have the right to intermittently strike and “come back” to disrupt the business. On the other hand, Our Walmart and the Board General Counsel apparently contend that the walkouts are protected Section 7 activity, regardless of length and frequency, thus setting up a test case before the Board in somewhat uncharted waters. Unions and worker centers like the tactic because it can, as a practical matter, effectively prevent the replacement of economic strikers. The current NLRB majority will no doubt be receptive to the union argument, as its effort to increase the power of organized labor has been anything but intermittent. How a federal circuit court will view the tactic is less clear.

The UFCW’s random strikes against Walmart might be illegal. Can Walmart workers have it both ways? A labor “tactic du jour” is intermittent one-day strikes. Historically, employees can work or strike, but they can’t lawfully do both: so-called “intermittent” strikes have not been legally protected. But one-day protests have been the hallmark of a campaign […]






Disgraceful

Dirty tactics Comments Off

For years, the UFCW has run a shameful, illegal, and sometimes weird campaign against Walmart.

Courts and authorities in several states barred the UFCW and OUR Walmart from trespassing on company property. A Maryland judge, for example, declared that activists taking part in the anti-Walmart campaign had to post a $10,000 bond that would be forfeited “for the payment of any damage” if they refused to obey an injunction. Walmart also sued to keep labor activists out of its Florida locations after the UFCW continued to illegally trespass in stores, disrupt customers, and even use crude tactics such as handing “a rotten pumpkin painted in support of OUR Walmart” to a store manager in Orlando.

A Texas appeals court ruled that the labor unions and protesters behind the mass demonstrations at Walmart had to face trespassing allegations. The company filed suit last year after the UFCW and OUR Walmart repeatedly entered stores, ignored no-solicitation signs, blocked access to parking lots, screamed through bullhorns, and staged flash mobs. As a result of protests in Michigan, the National Labor Relations Board ordered the UFCW to stop “restraining and coercing employees” while protesting. According to an NRLB complaint from 2014, two UFCW officials stormed into a Dearborn store’s electronics department with “50 to 80 unknown individuals” and interfered with shoppers while intimidating employees. Eight other protesters, including one man, then barged into the women’s restroom and “coercively interrogated an employee regarding her wages, hours and working conditions.”

In fact, court rulings and findings by the NLRB forced the union to issue a public disclaimer pledging to not enter Walmart property except to shop in Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Maryland, and Texas. In other words, courts across the country agreed that the UFCW’s methods as exercised through OUR Walmart were unlawful.

By admin On May 15, 2015 Dirty tactics Comments Off For years, the UFCW has run a shameful, illegal, and sometimes weird campaign against Walmart. Courts and authorities in several states barred the UFCW and OUR Walmart from trespassing on company property. A Maryland judge, for example, declared that activists taking part in the anti-Walmart […]






Anything for a Buck

By admin Latest updates Comments Off

The UFCW is scheming and conspiring to legalize marijuana in California with a ballot measure.

There’s no shortage of views on the question of legalizing recreational marijuana in California.

That much was evident at a series of focus groups earlier this year, where 48 men and women representing a cross-section of the state filed into rooms with one-way mirrors to share their opinions. The research is aimed at shaping an expected legalization initiative for the 2016 ballot…

Though public polls show a growing majority of state voters back the concept of legalizing marijuana, the data gathered in Riverside, Fremont and Los Angeles underscore the challenges to crafting a measure that can withstand the scrutiny of a multimillion-dollar opposition campaign. Commissioned by the United Food and Commercial Workers Western States Council, the research also provides an example of the steps being taken by sophisticated political operations to help shape a ballot-box fight with national implications.

The UFCW Western States Council, an umbrella labor group for 160,000 grocery and other workers across the state, is one of many health, government, environmental and marijuana industry organizations in discussions with leaders of the ballot effort.

The group already has a foothold in the marijuana industry, representing about 1,000 workers in medical cannabis jobs, and wants in on the ground floor of expansion efforts. Unions want to make sure a proposal contains strong workplace protections, said Jim Araby, executive director of the UFCW Western States Council…

Araby… envisions enlisting thousands of campaigners from organized labor who could advertise the effort, hold phone banks and invest in TV ads.

“The biggest challenge now,” Araby said, “is to make sure the groups that have the resources to put something on the ballot and pass it all work together.”

The UFCW is also supporting an effort to legalize “medical” marijuana  in Ohio by ballot measure.

If passed, the proposal would create a Marijuana Control Commission that would license 10 farms around the state – which the investors have already purchased – to grow the crop. Another 1,100 licenses would be issued for testing laboratories, manufacturing facilities and retail outlets.

By admin On May 15, 2015 Latest updates Comments Off The UFCW is scheming and conspiring to legalize marijuana in California with a ballot measure. There’s no shortage of views on the question of legalizing recreational marijuana in California. That much was evident at a series of focus groups earlier this year, where 48 men […]






Thoughtful

socialist workerNot content with harassing fast food restaurants, UFCW decided it would be fun to harass motorists by blocking traffic at a major intersection in Seattle.

Not content with harassing fast food restaurants, UFCW decided it would be fun to harass motorists by blocking traffic at a major intersection in Seattle.






Retreating

daily heraldIt appears that UFCW members have grown tired of the union wasting so much of their dues money on harassing Walmart. After elections late last year, UFCW spending on attacking Walmart plunged by more than 50%.

According to multiple sources close to the United Food and Commercial Workers’ OUR Wal-Mart and Making Change at Wal-Mart campaigns, which have helped workers wage strikes and protests since 2011, the union has slashed campaign funding by more than 50 percent since new leadership was elected in December.

“The new president campaigned internally hard against the campaign and the resources spent on it,” said one person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because she was not authorized to speak to the press…

The most recent IRS filings for OUR Wal-Mart show that the organization took in $239,000 in 2013, but that was mostly used for hardship payments to workers who lost wages due to going on strike or getting fired. It doesn’t include the salaries of dozens of full-time organizers who at one time were assigned to the campaign — many of whom are now being reassigned to other priorities — or cash assistance to groups like Jobs with Justice, which have also worked to build support. (Emphasis added.)

It appears that UFCW members have grown tired of the union wasting so much of their dues money on harassing Walmart. After elections late last year, UFCW spending on attacking Walmart plunged by more than 50%. According to multiple sources close to the United Food and Commercial Workers’ OUR Wal-Mart and Making Change at Wal-Mart […]






Piggybank for the Left

WatchdogUFCW also spends its members’ money liberally on liberal politics.

“Progressive” nonprofits received over $300,000 in donations from UFCW member dues last year. UFCW gave union think tank Economic Policy Institute $48,000, union front group Interfaith Worker Justice $45,000 and union front Jobs With Justice $38,000.

Working Families Organization, a sister nonprofit to the New York-based Working Families Party, received $16,000 from UFCW. Advocacy groups Center for Community Change, People for the American Way and Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow/PUSH Coalition received $10,000 each.

Mandatory union fees taken from nonmembers cannot legally be spent on political activity, but UFCW agency fee payers were forced to subsidize activist groups the union paid for “representational” activities.

UFCW reported $252,780 in payments to Change to Win Federation as representational activity. UFCW left Change to Win, a coalition led by Service Employees International Union, in 2013 to rejoin the AFL-CIO.

UFCW also reported representational payments of $180,000 to Jobs With Justice Education Fund, $72,000 to Interfaith Worker Justice, $70,002 to ColorOfChange and $65,000 to DEMOS.

Meanwhile, Catalist — a data consulting firm accused of illegal campaign coordination with hundreds of Democratic campaigns — received $706,600 in UFCW political expenditures.

According to The Center for Responsive Politics, UFCW spent over $10 million on political campaign contributions and independent campaign expenditures during the 2014 election cycle…

UFCW also spends its members’ money liberally on liberal politics. “Progressive” nonprofits received over $300,000 in donations from UFCW member dues last year. UFCW gave union think tank Economic Policy Institute $48,000, union front group Interfaith Worker Justice $45,000 and union front Jobs With Justice $38,000. Working Families Organization, a sister nonprofit to the New York-based Working […]






No Respect for the Law

in these timesThe UFCW is actively working to undermine U.S. immigration law. The union is offering free training to help illegal immigrants take advantage of Obama’s unconstitutional executive amnesty. Of course, Obama’s actions still aren’t enough for the liberal union.

An agreement between ICE and the Department of Labor is supposed to prevent I-9 audits where there is an “ongoing labor dispute.” Still, immigrant workers often fear that organizing could lead to inquiries about their status. For instance, 125 workers at an Oakland bakery were abruptly audited and fired in 2013—shortly after their contract expired, and as some were agitating for raises.

Some UFCW locals have helped workers use the limited rights they have in this tough situation. Members can assert their Weingarten rights to bring a union representative with them to challenge management about the reasons for audits. Several locals have negotiated contracts that explicitly limit management’s ability to check workers’ I-9s.

But often, all the union can do is buy workers a bit more time. Ultimately those outed as undocumented are forced to seek new jobs…

Immigrant rights groups have criticized Obama’s order as too narrow. UFCW isn’t satisfied either. The union backs a pathway to citizenship for workers in the U.S.

“We have not stopped our fight for a real and permanent solution,” says Lopez. “DAPA and DACA are a welcomed relief for our communities, but it is not what we are looking for.”

The union’s DAPA program is free, like the naturalization assistance the union has offered for the past two years. While individuals still have to pay form-filing fees, the union is setting up a scholarship fund to help defray these costs too.

The DAPA and DACA trainings are not limited to UFCW members and staff. The union is holding regional trainings with attendees from the hotel employees (UNITE HERE), ironworkers, and teachers (AFT) unions, plus local community allies.

Local trainings and portfolio clinics—where members compile the paperwork required to prove eligibility—sometimes involve members’ family and friends too. Lopez says the trainings help “raise immigration literacy in our union.”

“It’s an opportunity to introduce ourselves to non-union workers, too,” said [UFCW staffer Tim] Schlittner. “We’re building real inroads in whole immigrant communities with these trainings.”

The UFCW is actively working to undermine U.S. immigration law. The union is offering free training to help illegal immigrants take advantage of Obama’s unconstitutional executive amnesty. Of course, Obama’s actions still aren’t enough for the liberal union. An agreement between ICE and the Department of Labor is supposed to prevent I-9 audits where there […]