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OpenMarket: Private Unions

  • 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...

  • Labor Department's "Persuader Rule" Gives Unfair Advantage to Unions

    April 22, 2016

    The Department of Labor’s “persuader rule,” which is set to go into effect on Monday, April 25, will give unions a new tool to use against employers who try to push back against union organizing campaigns. The rule will eviscerate any confidentiality between a business and labor relations consultants the business might hire for advice on how to counter union organizing efforts.

    The rule would mostly affect medium-sized businesses that are just large enough to be targeted for unionization and too small to have in-house counsel. It also would encourage some large law firms to get out of the business of labor relations advising.

    Specifically, the rule expands reporting requirements under the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA) to encompass virtually all of a...

  • Easing Union Organizing Won't Fix the Economy

    April 21, 2016

    Most progressive policy makers view labor unions as the panacea that would address the problem of stagnate wages and disappearing middle class.

    A proposal to increase union ranks has been offered up for years. Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) is the latest sponsor of the Orwellian-named “Employee Free Choice Act of 2016.”

    Although the exact text of the legislation is not yet available on Thomas, Grayson describes the bill in a recent statement. It is fairly identical to past bills. Card-check union elections would replace secret ballot elections, harsher penalties against employers that commit unfair labor practices, and require binding arbitration when a company and union cannot come to terms on a first contract...

  • NLRB Puts Stamp of Approval on Harassment in the Workplace

    April 14, 2016

    Around 80 years ago, Congress created the National Labor Relations Board to bring stability to labor relations in the private sector. The current iteration of the Board is doing everything in its power to disrupt labor relations and create hostile workplaces.

    A variety of decisions by NLRB has dramatically expanded what is known as “protected concerted activity” to the point employers are unable to manage employees from engaging in defamation, intimation, and harassment.

    Protected concerted activity is defined by the NLRB as giving “employees the right to act together to try to improve their pay and working conditions.” Basically, it amounts to protecting union organizing activity.

    In 2004, the case...

  • Union Bosses Order Verizon Workers to Strike

    April 13, 2016

    Today, union bosses ordered 36,000 Verizon workers on the east coast to strike. Nearly all of these employees, 99 percent, service the Verizon wireline networks, whether as customer service agents or technicians.

    The Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers represent the workers. For the past 10 months, the unions and Verizon have bargained over a contract and have failed to reach a new agreement.

    Unions want greater job security, more high-paying jobs, and better pension benefits. The problem with union demands is that...

  • NLRB Case against McDonald's Shows Need for Labor Law Reform

    March 22, 2016

    At the beginning of the month, the National Labor Relations Board and McDonald’s trial began. The case will determine whether McDonald’s is a joint employer and responsible for alleged unfair labor practices at a number of independently owned restaurants across the nation.

    The case started back in 2012 when unfair labor practice charges were filed against McDonald’s. As the NLRB is part of the “most transparent administration in history,” it requires a Freedom of Information Act to see them. Although the public cannot see the documents, it is known that the charges are connected to alleged action taken by franchisees in response to the union-...

  • DOT Compromises Safety and Efficiency for Union Favoritism

    March 14, 2016

    Today, a draft proposed rule from the Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration has been making the rounds. It will be published in the Federal Register tomorrow and comments will be due on May 16. The aim is to require that all trains have at least two crewmembers in the cab unless they are explicitly approved to operate single-crewmember trains. It is nothing more than government-imposed union featherbedding, will offer no safety benefits, and will impose nontrivial costs.

    In Congress, legislation known as the Safe Freight Act has been repeatedly introduced at the behest of railroad unions that would be even worse by...

  • NLRB vs. McDonald's: The Trial Begins

    March 10, 2016

    The long awaited McDonald’s trial in National Labor Relations Board joint employer case begins today. In RealClearPolicy, I discuss the less-than-transparent proceedings leading up to the trial.

    In December 2014, NLRB General Counsel Richard Griffin consolidated dozens of unfair labor practice charges against McDonald’s franchisees and named McDonald’s USA, LLC, as a joint employer responsible for alleged labor-law violations of privately owned franchises all across the country.

    Since the mega-consolidation and over a year’s time, the NLRB has still failed to adequately explain to McDonald’s or the public the legal reasoning behind naming the fast...


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