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OpenMarket: Private Unions

  • Judge Halts Labor Department Persuader Rule for Now

    June 28, 2016

    A federal judge in Texas yesterday issued a preliminary injunction blocking the Department of Labor (DOL) from implementing its “persuader rule,” under which employers would be required to...
  • Speaker Ryan's Deregulatory Report: Clamp Down on Federal Labor Agencies' Overreach

    June 14, 2016

    Today, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) released his plan for how to modernize our federal regulatory system in order to jumpstart the economy. This is the third installment in his six-part “A Better Way,” agenda for Congress. Ryan announced the anti-poverty and national security...
  • Heavily Scrutinized NLRB Joint Employer Standard Heads to Court

    June 9, 2016

    Most people can pretty easily tell you who their boss is, but the Obama administration has made that a difficult question. In a decision last summer involving the waste management company Browning-Ferris Industries, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) overturned 30-year old precedent that determines when a "joint employment" relationship exists.

    Since the 1980s, a company assumed joint employer liability—responsible for labor violations committed by an employer they contract with—when they directly controlled the terms and conditions of workers at another business. In the Browning-Ferris case, the NLRB redefined when a joint employer relationship can be established so greatly that they do not need “any evidence of direct or immediate control” and “...

  • NLRB Downplays Pro-Union Threats

    May 26, 2016

    Union bias permeates the actions of the current National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). This is hardly surprising since a former union lawyer, Richard Griffin, holds the powerful position of Board General Counsel and a majority of Board members have a pro-union background.

    But however significant the pro-union bias is at the NLRB, the members should still be able to uphold basic elements of the National Labor Relations Act. The NLRB’s predisposition to favor labor unions should not override their duty to impartially enforce the Act.

    One duty of the Board is to ensure employees are free to self-determine their own representation. Part of that requires “free and fair elections.” Any observer of the Board knows that the current NLRB members take this duty extremely seriously...

  • Unions and Environmentalists Oppose Plan to Address California's Rising Housing Costs

    May 25, 2016

    Everyone’s for affordable housing—except, it seems, some unions and environmentalists.

    On May 18, a coalition of unions and environmental advocacy groups—including the State Building & Construction Trades Council and Natural Resources Defense Council—wrote to lawmakers to voice their opposition to a proposal by Governor Jerry Brown to encourage more building of lower-cost housing by expediting the state’s environmental impact review process.

    Brown’s proposal would exempt projects planned on land zoned for high-density development from burdensome review under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Note that those projects would already have had to qualify under local zoning ordinances.

    Green activists are often hostile to development in general....

  • Air Traffic Control Reform Opponents Still Miss the Big Picture, Repeat Errors

    May 16, 2016

    Air traffic control is in dire need of reform and modernization, and there is a great plan in the House FAA bill to do just that. But a handful of conservative activists have launched a campaign to roil reform. Last week, I published two posts debunking false claims made by critics. While the vast majority of free market advocates familiar with the issue support the air traffic control corporatization plan contained in the House’s AIRR Act, a small group of anti-union conservative advocates opposes these reforms, citing concerns over labor unions.

    The reform plan would transfer the...

  • Members-Only Unions Benefits Unions and Individual Workers

    May 16, 2016

    There has been a surge in right-to-work laws over the past couple of years. Since 2012, four states (Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin, and West Virginia) revoked union power that requires workers to pay union dues as a condition of employment.

    Obviously, that does not sit well with Big Labor. Today, The Washington Examiner reported on the variety of lawsuits that unions have filed to regain their power of forced dues and how an opening to do so may have opened with the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

    I’ve previously discussed the legal theory behind the lawsuits in Indiana and Wisconsin, here and...

  • Conservatives for Big Government: Air Traffic Control Reform Opponents Have Lost Their Minds or Principles

    May 10, 2016

    UPDATE: Diana Furchtgott-Roth has responded. I offer my reply.

    Right now in Congress, there is a proposal to end a government monopoly, replace it with a customer-driven corporation, slash taxes, and eliminate nearly two-thirds of a government agency’s budget. Not surprisingly, some Washington insiders oppose it. Surprisingly, some of those opponents are self-described conservatives.

    The conservative opposition, led by the Manhattan Institute’s Diana Furchtgott-Roth, wants to scuttle a proposal to spin off the Federal Aviation Administration’s Air...

  • Seattle Regulators Go After Rideshare Driver Privacy

    May 9, 2016

    Today, I have a column up at on the need for classical liberals to make financial privacy as important an aspect of their outlook as personal privacy. The need for vigilance against all kinds of intrusion of privacy is currently being demonstrated in Seattle, where city officials are making unjustified demands of ridesharing services over the comings and goings of drivers who use their platforms to find customers, all in an effort to force them into paying dues to unions.

    Last year, Seattle city council passed an ordinance that allowed drivers to form groups that could have the power to negotiate pay and conditions with their platforms. As the R Street Institute’s Ian Adams...

  • Why Is Employee Involvement an Unfair Labor Practice?

    April 28, 2016

    U.S. labor law is largely based on the false narrative of an inequality of bargaining power between employees and employers. The theory goes that an employer will extort an employee down to their reservation wage, or lowest acceptable wage that is better than being unemployed.

    Tyler Cowen and Alex Tabarrok, both professors at George Mason University, dispel this myth. As they explain, “[B]uyers compete against other buyers (and sellers compete against other sellers). Firms buy labor and they are competing primarily not against workers but against other firms. Firms versus Firms! Now that is a real battle!”

    Meaning when companies are trying to determine what compensation to pay an employee, they are not thinking about shaking down an employee, but how much another company may pay the...


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