Trade Union

Some words of caution for Andrew Little and Labour, but will they listen?

Tony Alexander, in his latest newsletter, has some words of caution for Andrew Little and the Labour party about the path they have embarked on.

Last week I noted that there are some trends which people (businesses I suppose, truth be told) should keep an eye on. These included growing wealth inequality and employers exploiting staff. Perhaps this latter thread is one of the motivating factors behind the new Leader of the Opposition’s announcement that he will set up a two year “Future of Work Commission”. The intention is that this project will examine changes in the way people work via numerous workshops and extensive contact with various groups. The risk is that it ends
up being a grumpy free for all for all and sundry so the first task of the work which Grant Robertson will lead is to tightly define what they wish specifically to focus on and go from there.

Good luck to them because one outcome of the GFC is an altered relationship between employers and employees. But more than that whole new industries and jobs have appeared, there is more casualisation and contracting, and a generation of people have come through the education system and entered the workforce with minimal awareness of what unions can offer them. And that union movement suffers greatly from being associated with exactly that – a politically motivated always Labour-supporting “movement” rather than true representation of employee concerns.

These are early days for the re-elected National government and early days for the latest Labour Party leader, so the thrust of changes in the employee-employer relationship for the next three years is still likely to be in the direction of further empowering the former. But employers should keep an eye on the building undercurrent of discontent among the working poor in particular, what the Aussies call the “battlers”, and where possible seek input into the new Commission.

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Democrat issues = Labour issues

The Democrats got a pasting on Tuesday in the US mid-term elections.

Many of the reason they took a pasting are the same reason Labour took as pasting in our election.

The Daily Beast explains.

I’m not going where you (especially if you’re conservative) suspect I’m going with this—the standard liberal moan that working-class white people are voting against their interests. That’s something Democrats have to get out of their heads and stop saying. People don’t vote against their interests. They vote for their interests as they see them. And right now, working-class and blue-collar whites think the Democratic Party is just implacably against them.

Of course I don’t think it’s true that the Democratic Party is implacably against them. I think they just think the Democratic Party is implacably against them, and part of the reason—not the whole reason, but part of the reason—they think the Democratic Party is implacably against them is that Democratic candidates in red states have no idea how to tell them they’re on their side.

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Since it is Labour day, let’s slay some union myths

Rodney Hide did it yesterday in the herald on Sunday, but since it is Labour day let’s look at the myth of the 8 hour working day the unions claim as their great achievement.

[Today] is Labour Day. Once again we will endure the annual claptrap that unions are great and won for us the eight-hour day. Without unions we would be working 24/7. It’s nonsense.

The Labour Day bunk dates from the start of European settlement. Carpenter Samuel Parnell arrived at what we now call Petone aboard the Duke of Roxburgh.

The Duke was just the third migrant ship to Wellington. Parnell was newly married, 30 years old and had travelled from London in search of a better life.

He found it.

On-board was shipping agent George Hunter, who asked Parnell to build him a store. Parnell agreed but on the condition that he work only eight hours a day. Hunter wasn’t happy. Eight-hour days weren’t the custom in London, but he had little choice: there were only three carpenters in Wellington.

Hence was born the eight-hour day. The practice caught on. For more than 100 years we have celebrated the eight-hour day as a victory for trade unionism. We know it as Labour Day which, on the fourth Monday of every October, is a public holiday.

We hear every year of the union movement’s long, hard struggle. It wasn’t easy winning the eight-hour day, we are repetitively told.

Without unions, greedy employers would have us working every hour, every day.

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How long before union muscle tries to destroy the franchise industry?

The Washington Post has an article outlining how the union movement in the US is marshalling its forces to attack franchise operators.

Those slimy SFWU scumbags will want the same for New Zealand.

The franchising industry in NZ worth about $20b. Unions wanting to unionise entire franchise systems would destroy much of that value.

Learn from the US, what happens there eventually comes here.

Franchising, one of the great American business success stories, is increasingly and unfairly under attack. Lawmakers need to pay attention and ask some questions.

More than 770,000 franchise businesses operate in 100 different business categories in the U.S., including restaurants, hotels, business services, retail stores, real estate agencies and automotive centers. These businesses employ 8.5 million workers and contribute more than $494 billion to the U.S. Gross Domestic Product, or 3.1 percent of total private sector GDP.

Unfortunately, franchising is the target of a well-financed, national campaign by the Service Employees International Union. The SEIU has launched a multi-pronged assault at the local, state and national levels of government.

The SEIU wants to undermine franchise contracts so it can more easily unionize entire franchise systems. The union and its affiliates want government officials to designate entire franchise systems as a single unit rather than the collection of separate, small business owners they actually are.

The reason is simple: It is much more difficult for unions to organize employees of thousands of independent small businesses than to unionize a single, large entity.

The effort is a desperate, special-interest ploy to replenish the union’s dwindling coffers and declining private-sector membership. The policy advanced by SEIU is meritless and stands in sharp contrast to years of federal and state legal and regulatory precedent.    Read more »

What to do about the teacher unions?

The teacher unions are kicking up a fuss, just days after the election, claiming John key doesn’t have a mandate.

What can be done about these dinosaurs?

Well we could follow what is happening in California. Where the teacher unions are being forced with the removal of their right to deduct union dues from the payroll.

The worst union in America is contemplating its worst nightmare—a time when state law no longer compels California’s teachers to pay it for the privilege of working at a public school. According to a 23-page PowerPoint presentation unearthed by union watchdog Mike Antonucci, California Teachers Association officials are taking seriously the idea that a raft of pending litigation could put an end to mandatory union dues in the Golden State, and they’re exhorting local union leaders to rise to the challenge. The presentation’s title is fitting: “Not if, but when: Living in a world without Fair Share.”

“Fair share” in this context refers to the union’s current legal right to collect dues from every public school teacher in the state, whether they join the union or don’t. But a world without compulsory dues isn’t hard to imagine—it’s already the reality in 24 right-to-work states, including Florida, Indiana, and Michigan, home to the still-powerful Michigan Education Association. The CTA presentation offers a candid assessment of emerging legal “attacks” in the wake of Harris v. Quinn, in which the Supreme Court this year ruled that the First Amendment forbids the state of Illinois to force part-time home health-care workers to pay collective-bargaining fees. The high court is likely to take up Friedrichs v. CTA, a much wider-ranging lawsuit now pending before the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals alleging that compulsory dues to public-employee unions are flatly unconstitutional.

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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 »

Unions own Labour and why 20% stacks up – Observation by the Owl

Helen Kelly and Andrew Little have completely stuffed Labour. This is a party which will never recover.

It will be doomed to the backwaters and is the new Alliance Party.

I give Labour another 3 more election cycles before it fades from history.

Here are some of the parallels

Unions got 20% of the vote to elect the Labour Leader

Total people belonging to unions in NZ (actually less than 20%)

Labour polls 20%   Read more »

Heresy, the Tories should excommunciate him

Guy Opperman is a troy MP but he is wetter than Nikki Kaye is. He certainly looks like he thinks like her.

He has committed heresy by saying at a conference of left-leaning Conservatives that “unions are not terrible” and are instead “the ultimate Big Society”.

What the hell are left-leaning Conservative anyway…does such a thing exist? aren’t they just fifth columnists for the left?

A senior Conservative has talked of his “despair” that the party is negative about Trade Unions, according to the Huffington Post. Guy Opperman, the MP for Hexham in Northumberland, told a conference of left-leaning Conservatives that “unions are not terrible” and are instead “the ultimate Big Society”.

His comments are a reference to David Cameron’s “Big Society” theme launched before the last election, which involves slimming down the state by asking voluntary groups to do more. At the time, he claimed he wanted a small government and a big society.  Read more »

Class Sizes – Labour and the Teacher Unions

A principal emails about Labour, the teacher unions and class sizes.

Hello Cameron

If the hypocrisy of Labour and the teacher unions wasn’t so negative for children is would be, almost, funny.

The one thing holding class size high is the Teacher Unions.

They fought bulk funding and denied almost every Principal in the country the choice to make staff resourcing choices based on the needs of the children in front of them.

They still bang on about the “victory” they had in the late 1990s by denying Principals these choices.  Read more »

Rodney Hide on unions buying influence in politics

Rodney Hide has a column in the Herald on Sunday where he looks at unions and they buying of influence in politics.

The true donations scandal in New Zealand politics was reported this week without comment. It’s the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union’s $60,000 donation to Labour.

The EPMU is one of the six unions affiliated to Labour. The affiliated unions pay fees and fund the Party through donations. The donations and fees total hundreds of thousands of dollars.

More significantly, union staff campaign for Labour and the unions run parallel campaigns. For example, Labour is campaigning for the “living wage”. In a parallel campaign the Services and Food Workers Union spent more than half a million dollars last year promoting that exact policy.

The union funding of Labour totals in the millions. And what does Labour provide in return? In effect the entire party. The unions get to determine the party’s leader. Their say counts for 20 per cent of the vote. That’s the difference between winning and losing by a wide margin.

Affiliation also buys a seat at the table. The affiliated unions have a guaranteed vice-president position on Labour’s all-powerful New Zealand Council.

They also get their people as MPs. The Labour Party enables the unions to parachute members into Parliament. Labour list MP Andrew Little headed the EPMU for 11 years before entering Parliament.

Being a union boss come Labour’s list selection time isn’t as good as being a Maori lesbian but it’s a close second.

And the unions get policy, lots of policy. In 1999 the EPMU gave $100,000 to Labour. The following year the Labour Government passed the Employment Relations Act. This act gives the unions incredible power over Kiwi workplaces as well as easy access to workers’ pay packets.

The Employment Relations Act nicely closes the loop. The act was provided by the Labour Party. It gave the unions access to workers’ pockets, and that’s the money the unions now tip into Labour’s coffers.

Indeed, in the state sector it’s policy for Government to give union members a bonus to cover their union fees. You and I pay their union fees.

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