Labour relations

I can’t see the problem, we should do this here

Wisconsin was once a union dominated state, that is until Scott Walker became governor and went to war on the unions.

Fairfax has an article today shows just how effective his union busting laws were.

At the old union hall here in the US city of King, Wisconsin, on a recent afternoon, Terry Magnant sat at the head of a table surrounded by 18 empty chairs. A members’ meeting had been scheduled to start a half-hour earlier, but the small house, with its cracked walls and loose roof shingles, was lonely and desolate.

“There used to be a lot more people coming,” said Magnant, a 51-year-old nursing assistant, sighing.

The anti-union law passed here four years ago, which made Governor Scott Walker a Republican star in America and a possible US presidential candidate, has turned out to be even more transformative than many had predicted.

Walker had vowed that union power would shrink, workers would be judged on their merits, and local governments would save money. Unions had warned that workers would lose benefits and be forced to take on second jobs or find new careers.

Many of those changes came to pass, but the once-thriving public-sector unions were not just shrunken – they were crippled.

Unions representing teachers, professors, trash collectors and other government employees are struggling to stem plummeting membership rolls and retain relevance in the state where they got their start.

Read more »

Vexatious complainant gets slapped for wonky ‘bum slap’ complaint

A story came out a couple of days ago that shows the problem with our employee grievance industry.

A Hamilton woman who lost a sexual harassment complaint against her former boss after he slapped her bum has been ordered to pay him $5000.

Hamilton woman Ella Newman, 23, will appeal the Employment Relations Authority decision that quashed her sexual harassment claim and the decision to make her pay.

I don’t know who advised her, but this should never have got this far.


Especially when the Herald reported the following comment from ERA member Anna Fitzgibbon.

Authority member Anna Fitzgibbon rejected those claims, calling Ms Newman an unreliable witness and questioning why she did not complain earlier.

It sounds like she just made stuff up and was an ‘unreliable witness’, probably looking for a Christmas bonus or a trip overseas.

If she had such an unreliable claim, you would hope her lawyer would tell her such.

Unfortunately many employees like her use groups like Community Law, often light on lawyers, and assume employers are wrong no matter what. They then stumble along making the matter worse and fail to speak the truth to their client.   Read more »

Andrew Little extends the 90 Day bill to 365 days for his ‘team’

According to 3News Andrew Little is going to put his MPs on trial periods of performance.

I wrote about that in passing yesterday but have had some more thoughts about Andrew Little’s conversion to performance based contracts.

New Labour leader Andrew Little is not revealing which roles Labour Party members will take, but says there no guarantee they will keep them.

Mr Little says he’s been “having very good conversations with every caucus member” to determine who takes on which role.

However, they may not be the people who take the party into the 2017 election, he told The Nation today.

The party was trying to achieve and fresh look and harness the talent it had.

“I may play the role of the coach and say hey listen lets try some people in new slots. Lets try some combinations, but listen we may well come to review those.

“The party had new members and wanted to try others in senior roles, Mr Little said.

Lets try them out while we’ve got a bit of an opportunity to do that, but by the end of next year, two years out from the election, lets crystalise who the team will be that will take us charging into 2017.

So Andrew Little is giving MP’s 12 month contracts…based on performance…well knock me down with a feather, but this is refreshing.

  1. Casualisation of workforce
  2. Extends 90 day bill to 365 days
  3. Individual contracts
  4. No collective bargaining by MPs
  5. MPs given no opportunity to have a support person when losing their current role
  6. MPs bullied out of their roles

Read more »

Parents not the Village Idiots Labour/Unions think they are

Labour and the teacher unions spend their whole time treating the parents of school age children like they have IQs lower than a jam sandwich.

Examples are ignoring the benefits of National Standards (they are going to ban them of course), telling families in challenges areas that they don’t want Charter Schools (they are going to ban them of course), telling parents they will save $100 on donations – while charging them $3.50 a week for a “device”, etc.

Parents have clearly also seen through the – slap a few more teachers in the classroom (wherever they come from) and she’ll be right approach too.

New Zealanders would rather money was spent on improving teaching standards than on reducing class sizes, a Herald-DigiPoll survey reveals.

Education has become a political battleground before September’s election, with both major parties promising to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on it.

Asked about their priorities, more than 60 per cent of those polled said they would spend money on trying to improve teaching standards rather than cutting class sizes.  Read more »

Peak union well past, how long before they die completely?

Andrew Sullivan blogs about the demise of the union movement.


In light of yesterday’s ruling in Harris v. Quinn, which limited the ability of public sector unions to collect dues from non-members, Philip Bump explores the shifting landscape of organized labor in America:

The decline in union membership is itself in part due to politics. In 2012, Michigan and Indiana passed “right to work” laws backed by conservative groups that allow workers to benefit from union-negotiated contracts without having to make any contribution to the union. That’s the issue at the heart of Harris. And there’s a reason groups opposed to unionization focus on it: Ending the practice would grievously harm public sector unions.

Public sector unions have been a bright spot in the labor movement. The graph [seen above] shows how membership has plummeted overall, but held steady in public sector employment. The dashed lines, incidentally, shows those employees covered under a union contract but who are not union members.

Jake Rosenfeld pushes back against the fears of the pro-labor left – and the hopes of anti-labor right- that “right-to-work” laws will deal a death blow to unions:

Despite all the heated rhetoric on both sides of the union divide, there isn’t much evidence that “right-to-work” laws actually reduce union representation. Consider the following:

  • In the United States, according to research by the economist William Moore, the vast majority of workers covered by collective bargaining contracts in “right-to-work” states pay union dues. Freeriding is rare. Many workers likely feel guilty for receiving benefits for free—and their union-contributing co-workers serve as constant reminders that they are benefitting from others’ labor.
  • In recent years, the success of unions in Las Vegas—most notably the Culinary Workers Local 226—has been a real bright spot for organized labor in the United States. Las Vegas, of course, is in Nevada, a “right-to-work” state. (Other “right-to-work” states have quite low unionization rates, but their rates were already low prior to passing “right-to-work” legislation.)
  • Across other industrialized nations, research finds that “closed-shop” provisions that compel the paying of union dues in unionized workplaces have little correlation with union strength.

Read more »

Fenton wrong on contract labour

Darien Fenton has gone out to the media attacking modern work practices:

Employers are increasingly using temporary or contract staff in place of permanent positions, according to a new report.

Labour says that’s bad news because the workers have no rights and no defence against arbitrary dismissal.

MP Darien Fenton is citing a report by recruitment agency Hays which says 64 per cent of employers now use temporary or contract staff.

And 18 per cent say they intend increasing their use of those staff.

“Contractors have no employment rights at all, including no minimum wage, no holidays and no rights to protection against unfair dismissal,” Ms Fenton said.

“At its worst, temporary workers are used to replace good, well-paying jobs with agencies who employ workers on minimum wage to do essentially the same work as those they work alongside.”

Ms Fenton says even more disturbing is that some employers admitted using temporary and contract work as a means to assess ongoing employment.

“The 90-day trial period was supposed to provide a way for evaluating suitability of employment, yet employers are continuing to dream up new devices to avoid the obligations of employment law and put the risk back on workers,” she said. Read more »

A bloody good point

David Farrar raises a bloody good point.


Of course they have their former General Secretary sitting in caucus as well, plus several members of Cunliffe’s war room and staff are ex-officio EPMU members…including Paul Tolich.

Let’s look at their declared cash donations to Labour.  Read more »

Labour donation facade SMASHED – Observation by the Owl

From today the Owl will start to take the lid off Labour’s Union donations and campaigns.

The first question I started with was this.

Why are unions not making any donations to Labour party especially in election year?

This is an incredible situation.

There is a clear rule under donation declaration that services in lieu must be reported along as cash donations.

Today the Owl SMASHES the situation and will show how donations are now replaced by campaigns. Before anyone says the Owl is a foolhardy – just remember this very important fact – it took 18 months but finally a numbers of unions had to declare millions in accounted funds.  Read more »

A few home truths for Labour and their union paymasters

While Labour is crying corruption over what they call “cash for access” they have ignored the elephant in the room for themselves…big union money and influence in the Labour party.

Simon O’Connor helpfully points this out to them.

Read more »

Unions whining in Aussie as Royal Commission get underway

Finally they have a government in Australia who has the courage to take on the unions rorting the system, and slowly push them a little closer to extinction.

If only the John Key government would push for the same thing here, just grab a copy of their terms of reference, adapt it for NZ, and get the show under way.

After all, the honest unions have nothing to worry about.   So, no problem is there?

A ROYAL commission into trade union governance, slush funds and corruption is nothing more than a witch-hunt and taxpayers will be better served if more money went to enforcing existing laws, unions say.

The royal commission into trade union governance started in Sydney on Wednesday, with commissioner Dyson Heydon saying the inquiry’s both broad and restrictive terms of reference will probe the facts behind a range of union practices.

Justice Heydon says the commission does not want to see unions abolished or curbed into insignificance.  Read more »