The AFL-CIO, one of the main pushers of the poisonous PRO Act, has been accused by one of its staff unions of bargaining in bad faith.
It’s not the first time.
On Wednesday, one of the unions representing staff at the AFL-CIO—the federation of more than 50 unions that is the primary pusher of the Protecting the Right to Organize Act (or PRO Act)—filed an “unfair labor practice” charge with the National Labor Relations Board.
In the charge, the Washington-Baltimore News Guild, Local 32035, is accusing the labor federation of refusing to bargain, bad-faith bargaining, including “surface bargaining” and “direct dealing” with employees.
If the NLRB finds the charges to have merit, ironically, the labor federation will have been found to be committing one of the main offenses that it accuses employers of doing in its promotion of the PRO Act.
If the PRO Act were already law, and the AFL-CIO were to be guilty of violating the law, the union federation and its officers–including its president Richard Trumka–could be subject to monetary penalties.
“…the PRO Act provides that directors and officers may be subject to personal liability for these civil penalties in cases where the director or officer directed or committed the violation, established a policy leading to the violation, or had actual or constructive knowledge of the violation and failed to prevent it.”
This is not the first time a union has accused the union federation of violating the law.
In 2019, during a lengthy labor dispute with a different staff union–the OPEIU–at the AFL-CIO’s headquarters filed charges against the AFL-CIO, accusing the labor federation of violating the law when it implemented a contract on that staff union.
The OPEIU-AFL-CIO even prompted AFL-CIO staff to protest outside the AFL-CIO’s headquarters in downtown Washington, DC.
Although it may be some time before the National Labor Relations Board concludes its investigation and issues a ruling, the irony that the very federation that is pushing the PRO Act has been accused on several occasions of labor law violations is not lost on those who follow labor unions.
Update: Bloomberg provides some background to the unfair labor practice charge filed against the AFL-CIO:
The AFL-CIO is requiring workers to be vaccinated and in the office on July 6, unless they are on approved leave, according to a June 2 message viewed by Bloomberg News from the federation’s human-resources director.
In an emailed statement, the local guild said the AFL-CIO hadn’t addressed its employees’ return-to-office concerns on issues such as ventilation, masks, commuting, child care and health risks. “Instead of coming to the table and working with us to guarantee everyone’s safety, management has decided to ignore their own workers’ rights to negotiate,” said the group’s executive director, Cet Parks.
Despite the fact that the EEOC gave employers the “green light” to require employees to be vaccinated, without knowing the full story, it may be the AFL-CIO is relying on its management rights clause to order employees back to work without bargaining with the union.