The Rather Innocuous Introduction of a Bad Bill

Originally posted on The Academe Blog:

Here is the “right to work” legislation introduced in the Ohio House this morning:

HB 377 UNION DUES (Brinkman, T.) To prohibit any requirement that employees of private employers join or pay dues to any employee organization and to establish civil and criminal penalties against employers who violate that prohibition. En. 4119.01, 4119.02, 4119.04, 4119.05, 4119.06, 4119.07, 4119.08, and 4119.99.

Introduced in House (10/22/2015)

In an earlier post, I reported on Brinkman’s announcement that he intended to introduce this bill, which would affect private-sector, and not public-sector, unions in Ohio: see: I noted in that post that either Brinkman’s bill is an effort to test again whether union solidarity can be undermined or it is underlain by the assumption that the Supreme Court will eliminate “fair share” for public-sector unions in its ruling on the Friedrichs case.

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A Model for Union Activism against Neoliberal Education Reforms—from Mexico

Originally posted on The Academe Blog:

Sin acuerdos concluyó esta tarde la mesa de negociación entre el Ejecutivo local y los integrantes de la Coordinadora Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación (CNTE), por lo que las autoridades se comprometieron a entregar este sábado 16 de junio, una segunda respuesta que será analizada por los magisteriales. Fot La jornada Michaocan

The following paragraphs are from an article Lois Meyer and Ricardo Rosa published by Truthout on October 15:

“The weakening of the public sphere in US education, painful as it is, is minor compared to recent developments in Mexico. For nearly two years, tens of thousands of Mexican teachers have mobilized against so-called ‘education reforms,’ especially in the southeastern Mexican state of Oaxaca, though virtually nothing of this massive teacher movement has been reported in mainstream US media. In Oaxaca and beyond, protesting Mexican teachers have demonstrated, gone on strike, seized buildings, closed highways and confronted the police and army, mainly nonviolently. According to the reformist teacher union movement (the CNTE), the ‘education reforms’ imposed by President Enrique Peña Nieto’s administration have nothing to do with educational improvement and everything to do with an aggressive neoliberal political agenda, the privatization of schools and attacks on hard-earned labor union rights and protections…

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Putting the Compensation of the Leaders of National Unions in a Meaningful Context

Originally posted on The Academe Blog:

The Taxable Compensation of the Presidents of the Largest Unions in the U.S.:

In February 2014, the National Review published an article by Jim Geraghty titled “America’s Richest 2%: Union Presidents.” That article included the following paragraphs, heavily slanted to make the salaries sound outrageously disproportionate to what anyone in such leadership positions should be earning:

One union president can say—either with pride or with shame—that he is, indeed, one of America’s richest one-half of 1 percent. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees’ international president, Gerald McEntee, had a gross salary of $1,020,751 in 2012.

“American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten is listed as having a base salary of $396,304—with more than $160,000 in “benefits and other compensation.” This puts her in the richest 1 percent, as the threshold for that distinction is a salary of $394,000. Fifteen staffers at the organization collect more than $200,000…

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What Happens when Expatriated Workers Return Home?

Originally posted on The Academe Blog:

Over the past few decades, multicultural studies, diaspora studies, and cross-cultural and transnational studies have all provoked considerable scholarly interest and have become distinct disciplines, reflecting the dramatic increase in the mobility of the global population.

In the midst of these broader movements of people, corporations have placed considerable value on international studies, foreign-language studies, and study abroad. In an increasingly interconnected world, an employee who is “at home” outside of his or her nation of origin is generally a considerable great asset.

There has also been a massive increase in corporate outsourcing (which has received the lion’s share of public attention) and insourcing (which, with the exception of farm workers, has received much less attention, though it has apparently created all sorts of issues recently for the administration of my university because of irregularities in how visas have been processed and in how the imported workers have been employed).

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Walker in Reverse: Right-to-Work for Just the Private Sector to Be Introduced in Ohio House

Originally posted on The Academe Blog:

Ohio State Rep. Tom Brinkman has announced that he is planning on introducing a bill that will ban “closed shops” and forbid unions from charging “fair-share fees” to non-union workers at private-sector workplaces.

He has indicated that the bill will not apply to public-sector unions, which would have been similarly restricted by Senate Bill 5, which was signed into law in late spring 2011 and then overwhelmingly rejected by ballot referendum in the fall of that year.

Brinkman has justified the bill with the usual arguments—that it will somehow increase employment and that it will prevent workers from being forced to pay dues to unions whose political agendas they may not support.

In an article on the bill published in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Jeremy Pelzer notes: “A number of studies have looked at the economic impact of ‘right-to-work’ laws, though it’s hard to find definitive proof of whether such…

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This Would Never Have Happened if William Howard Taft Were Still President!

Originally posted on The Academe Blog:

This item was distributed by Progressive Review in its daily UnderNews newsletter:

September 28, 2015

Obamacare Discriminates Against Heavy People

Economic Hardship-A 2013 report by ConscienHealth, a consultancy, found that 16 percent of employers require wellness program participation, including medical screenings, for access to full health benefits. Of these, 67 percent set goals for weight and/or other health indicators linked to obesity (weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, diet). But 59 percent said that their companies didn’t cover any evidence-based treatments for obesity, like fitness training, dietician, or medical weight loss clinics.

Penalizing employees for pounds is perfectly legal. Under provisions in the Affordable Care Act, 2014, employers can charge employees an extra 30 percent of the total cost (employer and employee portions) of individual or family health benefits coverage if they don’t meet specific wellness goals, including body mass index. This is up from 20 percent, which was imposed…

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“Right to Work,” by the Numbers: Part 11: Adult Obesity Rates

Originally posted on The Academe Blog:

Comparing the following two maps does not provide a basis for making the case that “right to work” enhances public health and the quality of life of workers and their families:

US Map 1

Obesity Rates

In the interest of full disclosure and to make it plain that I am not engaging in “fat shaming,” I am a person of “girth.” (How is that for a euphemism?) By that, I mean that if I ever somehow managed to squeeze myself into a sub-compact car or into a “tiny house,” they would either have to cut me out of it or bury me in it.

But, there is no denying that if I were thinner (in my case, actual thinness seems a very remote possibility), I would be healthier now and have better prospects for a longer and healthier life.

Although I am an outlier in this respect, obesity rates have been broadly correlated to low…

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“Right to Work,” by the Numbers: Part 10: Unemployment Rates in August 2015

Originally posted on The Academe Blog:

You cannot make the case that “right to work” increases employment opportunities by comparing these two maps:

US Map 1

Unemployment Rate 8-2015


Previous posts in this series have included:

Part 1: Population Growth and Movement:

Part 2: Immigration:

Part 3: Unemployment Rates, by State:

Part 4: Historic Highs and Lows in Unemployment, by State:

Part 5: Employment in Manufacturing:

Part 6: Loss of Employment in Manufacturing, before and during the Great Recession:

Part 7: Right to Work by the Numbers: GDP by State and GDP per Capita by State:

Part 8: Right to Work by the Numbers: GDP in Urban and Rural Areas:

Part 9: Previously Uninsured Americans Who Now Receive Health Insurance through the Federal Exchanges Established under the Affordable Care Act:

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What a Stronger Department of Labor Means

Originally posted on The Academe Blog:

This is a news release from the Department of Labor:

Halliburton Pays Nearly $18.3 Million in Overtime Owed to More than 1,000 Employees Nationwide after US Labor Department Investigation

Global Oil And Gas Service Provider Failed To Pay Overtime

HOUSTON — In one of the largest recoveries of overtime wages in recent years for the U.S. Department of Labor, oil and gas service provider, Halliburton, has agreed to pay $18,293,557 to 1,016 employees nationwide. The department’s Wage and Hour Division investigated Halliburton as part of an ongoing, multi-year compliance initiative in the oil and gas industry in the Southwest and Northeast.

Investigators found Halliburton incorrectly categorized employees in 28 job positions as exempt from overtime. The company did not pay overtime to these salaried employees—working as field service representatives, pipe recovery specialists, drilling tech advisors, perforating specialists and reliability tech specialists—when they worked more than 40 hours in a workweek…

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Walker Suspends Presidential Campaign: Wrecking Wisconsin Not a Springboard to the White House After All

Originally posted on The Academe Blog:

This from the Washington Post:

“Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker suspended his presidential campaign today, effectively ending a once-promising GOP presidential bid that collapsed over the summer.

“Walker, who tumbled from top-tier status amid tepid debate performances and other missteps, had pulled back from other early-voting states in favor of a heavy focus on Iowa, where he once led the field and has strong roots as a Midwesterner.”

I guess that the plan that he laid out just last week to attack unions nationwide was not enough to rescue his campaign. This is a summary provided by AlterNet:

  • Repeal President Obama’s orders improving pay and conditions for workers, including the millions of additional workers Obama is making eligible for overtime pay and things like paid leave for federal contract workers.
  • Pass a national version of so-called “right to work,” the anti-union law that allows workers to claim the benefits…

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