My alma mater seems to be doing better on the basketball court than they are at the bargaining table.
According to POLITICO, unionized lecturers at the University of Michigan voted to authorize a strike today, with 80 percent voting in favor.
The vote does not require the lecturers to go on strike, but rather permits their union leaders to call a strike should negotiations, set to continue through next week, fail.
Management “can easily make this right by drawing on the money generated by our labor without having to raise tuition,” Shelley Manis, co-chair of the Lecturers’ Employee Organization in Ann Arbor, told reporters on a call today.
UM lecturers seek a 74 percent increase in the lecturer starting salary at the university’s Ann Arbor campus; a 98 percent increase at its Dearborn campus; and a 105 percent increase at the Flint campus. A university spokesperson told POLITICO Tuesday its bargaining team would reach a settlement before the current contract expires on April 20.
“We’ll continue our negotiations at the bargaining table,” said Rick Fitzgerald, the university’s assistant vice president for public affairs.
Lecturers teach one-third of the undergraduates on the Ann Arbor campus. A strike could disrupt classes in the last month of the university’s academic year.
This advice memorandum was issued today from the NLRB office of the General Counsel. The memo indicates that General Counsel Richard Griffin has asked the National Labor Relations Board to clarify and modify the law regarding intermittent and partial strikes which have become more common recently . This change would be very problematic for employers, and continues the encroachment of the Board on long standing labor law.
OFFICE OF THE GENERAL COUNSEL Division of Operations-Management
MEMORANDUM OM 17-02 October 3, 2016
TO: Regional Directors, Officers-In-Charge, and Resident Officers
FROM: Beth Tursell, Acting Associate to the General Counsel
SUBJECT: Model Brief Regarding Intermittent and Partial Strikes
Employees seeking to improve their working conditions are more frequently engaging in multiple short-term strikes in disputes with employers The Board’s present test for determining whether multiple short-term strikes are protected is difficult to apply to these situations, and exposes employees to potential discipline for activities that should be considered protected under Section 7 of the Act. The General Counsel has therefore decided to ask the Board to clarify and modify the law regarding intermittent and partial strikes.
If the issue of whether an intermittent or partial strike is protected should arise in one of your cases, please use the analysis in the attached model brief to help you make a determination. If you determine that complaint is warranted under extant law, you should incorporate this model brief, as an alternative argument, into the counsel for the General Counsel’s briefs to the Administrative Law Judge and the Board. If you determine that complaint is not warranted under extant law, but might be appropriate under the analysis in the model brief, please submit the case to the Division of Advice.
If you have any questions, please contact the Division of Advice.
Attachment: Brief Insert — Intermittent Strikes —> brief not included on website at time we published – MV
Hat tip to John Raudabaugh for pointing this out.
Earlier this week I was reading the SHRM Daily newsletter in my email and ran across to stories with the same topic, but very different themes and story angles. The stories focused on a pair of work stoppages; one at Verizon and the second being the latest Fight for $15 rallies held nationwide on April 14th.
Here’s the headline and summary from SHRM covering the Verizon strike in which 36,000 union employees went on strike over an ability to reach a new labor agreement with their employer.
Verizon Strike Not as Intimidating as It AppearsDespite its recent strike at Verizon, which started April 13, the Communications Workers of America (CWA) doesn’t have as much muscle to flex as it did 16 years ago.
In 2000, 85,000 Verizon employees went on strike. In the ensuing decade, the union lost half its membership. Now about 40,000 Verizon employees are striking, noted Peter List, CEO of Kulture, a national labor-employment consultancy based in the Charleston, S.C., area.
The gist of the story is that the number of CWA members striking this time is about half what it was during the last strike, which means that the union has less leverage in this work stoppage than the last strike which took place 16 years ago. It also means that the work stoppage is less of a problem for Verizon this time around.
Juxtaposed with that is the second story headline describing the Fight for $15 one-day “strike” held on 4/14/2016. That headline was:
Fight for $15 Rallies Leave a Lasting Impression
Fight for $15 rallies, such as the ones held globally April 14, aren’t just photo opportunities. Numerous states and localities have increased their minimum wage to $15 an hour since the rallies began three and a half years ago. And some companies—including Aetna, Nationwide Mutual Insurance and Facebook—have voluntarily raised their minimum pay to $15, according to the National Employment Law Project (NELP) in an April 2016 report.
“These Fight for $15 rallies are growing and having some impact,” said Phillip Wilson, president and general counsel with the Labor Relations Institute, a full-service labor and employee relations consulting firm based in Broken Arrow, Okla. “Many municipalities are passing higher minimum wage laws, at least in part based on these protest activities.”
The Fight for $15 protesters don’t belong to any kind of official union. It’s a labor organization that claims to be a grassroots movement, even though government documents show that the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) has funded their activities with nearly $70 million in the past few years. It’s an interesting reflection of the current state of labor relations in the United States when a workers center with no dues paying members is viewed to be more effective than a long time traditional labor union like CWA.