By: Bob Carroll – Executive Vice President @ Permanent Solutions Labor Consultants
(Our Success at PSLabor Lies in Our Inside Edge!)
If you are like most people, you are sick and tired of watching the political ads that consume our TV in the days leading up to the election. As if the ads are not an annoyance, trying to decipher the truth behind the ads can be a quagmire of wasted cranial energy.
As a former union fire fighter, I have watched an ad here in Michigan where a firefighter is dressed from head to toe in his turnout gear speaking in a sullen voice and talking about how firefighters will not be able to perform their jobs safely without the passage of Proposal 2. Proposal 2 would embed language into the State of Michigan Constitution guaranteeing workers in both public and private sectors the right to Collective Bargaining. A few things started jumping out of my television screen to run around my mind after the commercial ended. My first thought was that I was provided with the best equipment in the fire service without a “constitutional right” to bargain collectively. Then I remembered that public and private workers in Michigan do have the right to bargain collectively under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and Michigan’s Public Employee Relations Act (PERA). I also remember a group called the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) that recommends minimum standards for equipment, staffing and training to even work on a fire scene. Every fire department I know of follows NFPA standards. So I began to dig deeper. What is this proposal really about?
Then, right before the next installment of The Voice came to my screen, I saw a serious looking policeman standing in front of me on my “idiot box”. With a stern look, he looked right at me through the TV and said something about how voting Yes to Proposal 2 would lead to sexual predators walking around in my kids school. I thought to myself, “What do sexual predators have to do with collective bargaining?” You see, I could not figure out how the passage of this proposal could lead to deviant sexual predators in my daughter’s school.
With my mind spinning looking for answers I decided the next best thing to do would be to hit up the Internet and find the answer to my latest quest for knowledge. I really wanted to know where I personally stood with Proposal 2. So, I Googled Proposal 2. I found page after page with seemingly meaningless opinions from individuals and groups stating how good or how bad the proposal is for the “working families” in Michigan. I thought, “How can so many people be so vocal about this thing?” I thought in jest, “Michigan is a union friendly state so surely this is a good thing for union brothers and sisters”. But then I thought a bit more clearly and developed my own conclusion in regards to this “Protect Working Families” proposal after a little more research.
The Mackinac Center on Public Policy has estimated that this proposal can cost taxpayers up to 1.6 billion dollars. If they are even close to correct, this would effect union workers and non-union workers alike. Union workers would be hit with a double whammy because they have to pay union dues on top of added costs of living that trickle down from added burdens on municipalities. Where will those costs come from? I’m not an economics expert or expert on public policy by any means, but it is very easy to see that a few things are likely to happen if this proposal is added to the Constitution. First of all, Michigan unions will be protected from the State becoming a Right to Work state like Indiana. Second of all, the union friendly fire will be stoked and an increase in organizing workers will occur in the State of Michigan. Thirdly, municipalities will not have the benefit (and yes I say benefit) of State intervention under the Emergency Manager law where union contracts can be suspended in cases where the municipality simply cannot pay for them. In other words, the unions will get the blood from a stone. And finally, businesses that wish to maintain their union free status will not move operations to the State.
Looking deeper into this proposal, I found that the unions themselves were instrumental in leading the charge in collecting the signatures needed to bring this to ballot. Heck, they gloated about this on their websites. The ones in power in the unions carefully planned this out. I am confident that a regular union firefighter, cop or teacher did not sit down one day and mastermind this plan. They are busy doing what they do – saving lives, protecting citizens and teaching our children. This took time and resources to accomplish. This was something that was calculated and well planned. This proposal is simply, in my opinion, a show of power by union leaders to grasp onto what little membership they have in the State in an attempt to rebuild an institution that has seen it’s heyday.
Back to the absurdity of the ads. One claimed to threaten the safety of our firefighters and the other threatened the safety of the children in the classroom. In reality firefighters will get their safety gear. In reality, sexual predators will not freely roam my daughter’s school. The biggest reality to remember is that everyone has a choice to make on Election Day. It is up to each and every person voting to do your homework. Know what each question on the ballot is about. Know your proposals and know your candidates. If you simply go by what you see on TV you could be voting for the opposite of your own ideologies and what you truly intended on voting on. Michigan is not the only state to have battling ads laced with hyped up claims. This is a nationwide concern. When people say the government is messing up America, they are half correct. It is the people we put into government that affect us all. It is the proposals that we vote for that they act on. If we do not truly know who were are putting in office or what proposals we are passing then we, as citizens have no legitimate reason to complain. When you are watching these ads on TV it is like looking at a beautiful piece of art hanging in someone’s garage. It looks like a masterpiece on the surface but under the first layer of paint lies a paint by numbers portrait of a clown done with finger paints.
The Future of the Democratic Party and Big Labor
By: Ricardo Torres (President & CEO, Permanent Solutions Labor Consultants)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – (Rochester, New York) By an overwhelming majority, teachers and aides of the Jewish Community Center (JCC) of Greater Rochester, New York, voted no against union representation by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 200 United preserving their valued union free advantages. The involved staff is employed by the Wolk Children’s Center, an early childhood campus located within the JCC. The election was held by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) through a secret ballot election. Final tally was conducted on Friday, October 5th, at the JCC’s main campus and was facilitated by the NLRB Regional Director.
Of the nearly 50 involved employees, 48 ballots were counted; the final tally was 27 (NO) against 17 (YES) in favor of remaining union free. In addition, 5 ballots were challenged, however considered “undeterminative” to the outcome by the NLRB Regional Director.
Campaign communications on behalf of the JCC were orchestrated under the advisement of retained counsel, Nixon Peabody, and through the direction of Permanent Solutions Labor Consultants (PSLC) who specializes in labor concerns.
With this matter behind us, “I am relieved to say everyone is back to work and ready to move on by working together to solve the issues that resulted in this situation” states Leslie Berkowitz, Executive Director of the HCC of Greater Rochester. “We are looking forward to working with the teachers and creating a happy and productive work environment for all”.
Ricardo Torres, President of PSLC says, ” When you step into the JCC, you encounter remarkable people, dedicated volunteers and a wide-array of year-round programs, activities and special events. The JCC is clearly committed to enriching the lives of their members and the community. Most importantly, the JCC of Rochester is dedicated to its loyal employees who seamlessly work in concert to maintain the JCC’s proud traditional experience.”
Dan Block, PSLC VP of Client Relations adds, “The Wolk [Children’s Center] employees demonstrated their individual choice on this matter which is exactly how the system should work. As the government’s own publication states, ‘Long experience has taught us that when parties fully understand their rights and obligations [pertaining to labor relations] they are more ready and able to adjust their differences voluntarily’ without the need of a third party. (citing the Basic Guide to the National Labor Relations Act, prepared in the office of the NLRB General Counsel).
Torres goes on to say, “Again, the SEIU tried every trick in the book to win this election including intimation and harassment through corporate campaign-style tactics against the JCC. The SEIU attempted to rally around local politicians who think more about union assistance and money [PAC contributions] in their quest to stay in office than they do for the working class. The employees saw past the smoke and mirrors and realized that the best way proceed was to work with management in an effort to rebuild trust and move forward towards a goal of positive employee relations and a work environment both employees and management can be proud of.”
Torres adds, “We are extremely pleased with the result of this election. We feel optimistic about the opportunity granted to our client in that this experience has opened the eyes and hearts of all involved. Truly, a stronger, more trusting, relationship will develop as outcome from this campaign and the JCC of Greater Rochester will solidify its success by insulating their vulnerabilities to union attacks in the future.”
About Permanent Solutions: Permanent Solutions Labor Consultants, Inc. (pslabor.com) is a global Labor Relations and Human Resource consulting firm specializing in both healthcare and non-healthcare environments. Permanent Solutions consultants are former Union organizers and former Human Resource executives with extensive union campaign experience who have made it their personal missions to promote positive employee relations in a union-free environment. For more information about this subject or to learn more about Permanent Solutions Labor Consultants, please call 313-914-2017 (corp office) or via email firstname.lastname@example.org.