When unions’ own unionized workers accuse union bosses of ‘union busting,’ there may be a problem with today’s unions.
Two high-profile labor disputes have union-industry watchers–and even the Wall Street Journal’s editorial board–scratching their heads at the behavior of the some of the nation’s most powerful union leaders.
The SEIU’s ‘Union Busting’
In Washington, within blocks of the White House and Capitol Hill, the unionized employees of the Service Employees International Union—or SEIU—have recently authorized their union, OPEIU Local 2, to call a strike against their employer (the SEIU).
“In a significant show of strength and unity, 92 percent of OPEIU Local 2 members who work at SEIU headquarters authorized a strike after rejecting management’s best and final offer,” stated the OPEIU on its website.
“Unfortunately, what SEIU tells the public and its members about union values contrasts sharply to its behavior toward its union workers,” said David Hoskins, chief shop steward. “At our office, SEIU bosses have engaged in a prolonged union-busting campaign, even while bargaining a collective agreement with its union staff.”
“Over the last five years, union jobs at SEIU and its pension fund have been cut in half: from 283 to 149. The remaining number of union workers represented by OPEIU Local 2 has declined drastically since 2005, from 171 members to 84. SEIU staff is now made up of 70 percent managers as SEIU’s leadership has systematically cut the number of union positions in favor of at-will managerial bloat and non-union consultants. According to filings with the Department of Labor, SEIU spent $21.6 million outsourcing work to non-union consultants in 2017, much of which should have been done by union workers.”
“SEIU has also come under scrutiny in recent years over rampant alleged abuse by high ranking executives and managers, including widespread bullying and sexual harassment,” the union notes.
The OPEIU says that SEIU management has “failed to commit to any meaningful improvements at the bargaining table” and the union is ready to strike.
Meanwhile, at the AFL-CIO’s Headquarters…
The nation’s largest labor federation, the AFL-CIO, has been embroiled with its own labor dispute involving its unionized staff since last year.
In May of 2018, the OPEIU began its negotiations for a new contract with the AFL-CIO.
By late September, however, the AFL-CIO management and its union still had not reached an agreement. So, gave its unionized workforce its “last, best and final” offer which, according to the OPEIU, included “takeaways” and was soundly rejected.
In early October, the AFL-CIO told the OPEIU it intended to impose its “anti-union” last, best and final offer.
This prompted protests outside the AFL-CIO’s headquarters in Washington.
Since then, as of March 2019, the OPEIU still does not have a contract and has filed unfair labor practices with the National Labor Relations Board.
OPEIU Local 2 and the AFL-CIO have been in contract negotiations since May 23, 2018. To date, the OPEIU Local 2 bargaining unit has tentatively agreed to a wage freeze for three more years. We also tentatively agreed to eliminating layoff protections, surplusing and return rights; and reducing long term disability protections and vacation banking. We also agreed to explore changes to the AFL-CIO’s healthcare and staff retirement plans. Finally, we agreed to up to 12 days of furloughs in years 3 and 4 of the CBA after providing financial justification to the Union.
The sticking point? The AFL-CIO insists on placing furloughs under Management’s Rights. The AFL-CIO also wants to be able to implement furloughs at any time, on any bargaining unit member, for any duration, without (1) providing justification, (2) shared sacrifice, or (3) a drop-dead date (i.e. in perpetuity). We believe that agreeing to the above furlough terms will not only hurt us but every union member whose employer looks to the AFL-CIO to set the standard in contracts.
Since we will not agree to the above terms, the AFL-CIO illegally imposed its contract (see October 9, 2018) and began retaliating against union members (see March 6, 2019).
Whether the OPEIU ever gets contracts with the union bosses in control of the AFL-CIO and the SEIU is, as yet, unknown.
However, the fact that union bosses are engaging in so-called ‘union busting’ is a matter that is, at best, curious and, at worst, extremely hypocritical.
— Watch Union Members March On The ‘Anti-Union’ AFL-CIO
— AFL-CIO Faces A Strike After Taking Benefits From Its Workers And Imposing A Contract