Sunday, May 6, 2007


Flying under the radar in recent weeks has been the Democrats' introduction of the Re-Empowerment of Skilled and Professional Employees and Construction Trade Workers ("RESPECT") Act on March 22nd.

As is usually the case, Big Labor Bosses are attempting to tilt an issue in their favor at the expense of the average worker and, if successful, could effectively drag 8 million more workers into unions and take their money.

Introduced as payback to the Big Labor Bosses' $100 million investment in the current US Congress, RESPECT's purpose is to not only to overturn the NLRB's Oakwood Decisions, also known as the Kentucky River csases, it is also to dramatically rewrite the National Labor Relations Act and eviscerate the definition of supervisor.

The NLRB's September announcement on the Oakwood/Kentucky River cases spawned large union-sponsored protests before, during and after the decisions were actually issued.

For those who know little about it, here's the background:

For the past 70+ years, the National Labor Relations Act has defined a supervisor, as follows:
The term "supervisor" means any individual having authority, in the interest of the employer, to hire, transfer, suspend, lay-off, recall, promote, discharge, assign, reward, or discipline other employees, or responsibly to direct them, or to adjust their grievances or effectively to recommend such action, if in connection with the foregoing the exercise of such authority is not of a merely routine or clerical nature, but requires the use of independent judgment.

However, unions have a problem with the current definition as it limits the amount of people (and money) unions can sink their talons into. Therefore, Big Labor Bosses and their congressional minions have proposed to eviscerate the role of a supervisor in order to unionize them by altering the NLRA's definition of supervisor, as follows:
(1) delete "assign;" (2) delete "responsibly to direct;" (3) and require that
the individual spend the majority of his or her time performing the remaining
supervisory functions in Section 2(11) in order to be classified as a
[For an excellent review of the subject, check out Littler Mendelson's article The RESPECT Act: A Bad Law With A Snappy Acronym Is Still A Bad Law]

Through it all, one thing that seems to be missing from the dialogue on both sides of the issue:

The average rank-and-file union worker.

Though laughable in practice, in theory, unions are supposed to protect workers from "the boss."

However, if the "boss" is person who directs, controls and assigns my work on a day-to-day basis and he mistreats me, who do I go to if the boss is in the same union as I am?

The same union that my boss' dues? Hmmm....Could be a problem there, right? Perhaps a Conflict of Interest???

If I raise an issue with my shop steward regarding my "boss" (who's paying dues just like I am--and possibly more), how is the shop steward going to serve two masters?

Ever hear the term retaliation? [The next day at work is going to be a living hell.]

Oh yeah. There's also the problem that I, as a union member, might have with raising an issue with the union about another union member( the boss)--never mind that he's my boss and I'm supposed to be paying protection money to the union to protect me from such mistreatment.

The whole concept of "wronging a fellow member" is punishable by trial in most unions.

So, if I bring up an issue to the union against another member, I can be placed on trial and, if found guilty, be fined, suspended, or expelled from the union (which could cost me my job in a non-Right-to-Work state) boss and fellow union member probably won't give a rip anyway.

Not surprisingly, it appears the RESPECT act is less about respect and more about dues.

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