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OpenMarket: Labor and Employment

  • Government Union Collective Bargaining Needs Sunlight

    May 12, 2015 3:09 PM

    Taxpayers should have a right to know how tax dollars are spent. Unfortunately, one of state and local governments' largest expenditures, public union contracts, mostly are agreed upon in closed-door meetings.

  • President Again Makes False Claims about Supreme Court's Ledbetter Decision

    May 11, 2015 11:16 AM

    On April 15, President Obama once again made false claims about what the Supreme Court did in its decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (2007), insinuating that the Court set a deadline for suing over pay discrimination that expires before many employees could possibly discover the discrimination.

    He falsely claimed that the Supreme Court said it didn’t “matter” when Lilly Ledbetter learned of the pay disparity she unsuccessfully sued over, and that it ruled against her even though she explained that “I just found out” about the discrimination right before suing.

    In reality, Ledbetter admitted in her deposition that she knew of the pay disparity years earlier. Yet she waited until long after the deadline to sue. The Supreme Court specifically said in footnote 10 of its decision that it had “no occasion” to consider whether Ledbetter could have sued had she only just found about the discrimination shortly before suing, since Ledbetter never argued to the courts that she had just discovered the discrimination. If she had just found about the discrimination, her lawyers would have argued that the “discovery rule” applied to restart the deadline for suing, making her lawsuit timely, but they never did so.

  • Congress Tables Ambush Election Resolution of Disapproval

    May 11, 2015 10:07 AM

    The Competitive Enterprise Institute planned on scoring the Senate’s veto override vote on S.J. Res. 8, a Congressional Review Act Resolution of Disapproval to void the National Labor Relations Board’s “ambush election” rule. Unfortunately, the Senate voted 96-3 to table the measure in order to focus on other business.

  • Will Gov. Cuomo Kill the Economic Opportunity James Franco Extols?

    May 8, 2015 1:40 PM

    Kudos to actor, writer, and director James Franco for his Washington Post piece yesterday explaining an important benefit of McDonald’s and the fast-food and franchise industries writ large—they are there for you when you need them.

    James Franco explains that in his case the McDonald’s job was essentially a starting job after being fired from two others. Franco explains that that job sustained him when other avenues were not available. Furthermore, Franco tells how he used that time to develop skills that launched his current career.

    Franco demonstrates the value of a good work ethic and shows how he made the job fun and kept a good attitude.

    Franco’s story points out that in many cases the jobs are starting jobs as skills are developed. The story doesn’t end there though, because it makes the point that such jobs are there for you when nobody else is and at whatever stage of life you may find yourself.

    Women hold 73 percent of these fast-food jobs, writes New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in an opinion editorial in the New York Times yesterday. Unfortunately, raising the minimum wage is going to do is keep a notable percentage of these women at home, making McDonald’s and other franchise jobs unavailable for them when they need them.

    There are jobs that are going to be lost, and disproportionately it’s the women who will be losing them. If someone has to be let go due to rising labor costs for employers, then there is a 73 percent chance it will be a woman fired from these fast-food jobs.

    About 80 percent of economists surveyed recognize the job-killing reality of minimum wage hikes and 85 percent of econometric studies demonstrate this job-killing phenomenon. 

  • Congress Gives Up Fight against NLRB Ambush Election Rule

    May 8, 2015 10:55 AM

    The Competitive Enterprise Institute planned on scoring the Senate’s veto override vote on S.J. Res. 8, a Congressional Review Act Resolution of Disapproval to void the National Labor Relations Board’s “ambush election” rule. Unfortunately, the Senate voted 96-3 to table the measure in order to focus on other business.

    While it was unlikely that Senate Republicans could have mustered the 67 votes needed to override President Obama’s veto, GOP members should have demanded a vote to put senators on the record on whether they support the special interests of labor unions or worker rights.

    The NLRB’s ambush election rule threatens workers’ freedom of association and privacy, while hampering employers’ abilities to educate employees on the impact of unionization in the workplace.

    Further, the ambush election rule is a regulatory solution in search of a problem that doesn’t exist. Labor unions already win 65.2 percent (FY 2013) of all union elections held. Labor unions win an even higher percentage of elections when employees have less time to educate themselves on unionization, and the main component of the rule is to drastically shorten the time period for union organizing elections, possibly to as little as 11 days after a union files a petition.

  • Republicans Vote in Favor of Union Giveaways

    May 5, 2015 1:27 PM

    Last week, the Competitive Enterprise Institute sent out a Key Vote alert on two amendments. Both were designed to save taxpayers money by ending policies that benefit unions at the expense of fiscal responsibility and common sense. Normally, most would expect Republicans would support such measures, especially since labor unions are primarily donors to the Democratic party. Unfortunately, nearly 50 GOP members voted against both amendments.

  • Key Vote Alert: “YES” on Overriding the Veto of S. J. Res. 8

    May 1, 2015 1:46 PM

    On Monday, May 4, 2015, the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) will score the Senate’s veto override vote on S. J. Res. 8, a Congressional Review Act Resolution of Disapproval to void the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) “ambush elections” rule, which threatens American workers’ freedom of association and privacy. CEI’s Congressional Labor and Employment Scorecard can be found at CEI’s labor and employment policy project: WorkplaceChoice.org.

  • Key Votes Alert: Amendments to H.R. 2029, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Bill

    April 30, 2015 11:32 AM

    Key Votes Alert: Amendments to H.R. 2029, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Bill

    Today, the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) will score votes in the U.S. House of Representatives in its consideration of H.R. 2029 — "Making appropriations for military construction, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2016, and other purposes."

  • Theatrical Union Ignores Membership Vote to End Volunteering Exemption

    April 23, 2015 1:33 PM

    If a vote goes against you, ignore it.

    That is what a theatrical union did this week, when it announced it would ditch a longstanding plan that allowed actors to volunteer at small theaters.

    Actors’ Equity Association, which represents 50,000 actors and stage managers, recently held a non-binding referendum on whether to abandon a minimum wage exemption for theaters with less than 100 seats. Members voted against ending the exemption, known as the 99 Seat Theater Plan, by about a two-to-one margin. Granted, the referendum was non-binding, but it does show a union’s leadership going blatantly against the wishes of an overwhelming majority of its membership. 

    Some actors working in small theaters had asked for greater pay, reports Southern California Public Radio (SCPR), but Actors’ Equity’s proposed solution is about as heavy-handed a way to address the issue as could be. “I believe that there is an inequality inside L.A. theater and I think it should be fixed,” actor Ramon De Ocampo told SCPR. “But I don’t think it should be fixed with a sledgehammer. We need to scalpel it away to get that payment.”

    The sledgehammer metaphor is especially apt considering that many actors approach performing in small theaters as a job, but as a means to gain experience and sharpen their skills. As The New York Times reports:

    [H]undreds of union actors working in this city’s distinctive and thriving small theater scene are barely paid for their work. And, in an unusual twist to America’s economic fairness debates, many of them say they are O.K. with that.

    “None of us is here to make money,” Lynn Odell said recently as she rehearsed a science-fiction comedy at Theater of Note, a 42-seat theater that operates in a former auto-glass repair shop in Hollywood. “We are here for the experience.”

    The willingness of Los Angeles actors to perform for a pittance, hoping to hone their craft and, maybe, to catch the eye of an agent or manager, is now at the heart of an extraordinary rift in the union representing theater actors, and has opened a new front in the nation’s battle over the minimum wage.

    Ironically, a prominent defender the 99 Seat Theater Plan is Tim Robbins, an avowedly liberal Hollywood actor who happens to run a small theater.  

  • SEIU Support for Minimum Wage Hikes Based on Self-Interest

    April 14, 2015 9:18 AM

    Why is the Service Employees International Union funneling $15 million into the Fight for 15 campaign when the average private-sector union member makes $22 an hour and only 1 percent of the American workforce earns the minimum wage?

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