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Bezos-Owned Amazon Opposes Mail-In Voting For Union Election

Online retail giant Amazon opposed mail-in voting for a union election, according to a filing with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

Amazon’s position on mail-in voting conflicts with that of the Washington Post editorial board’s position on mail-in voting. Both companies are owned by Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest man.

In a petition filed with the NLRB on Jan. 21, Amazon argued that mail-in voting would decrease turnout and create security concerns in a unionization election at the company’s Bessemer, Alabama warehouse.

Amazon argued in the petition, uploaded by The Verge, that “concerns about election security run particularly high” due to the use of “an unreliable electronic signature platform.”

Amazon further claimed that mail-in voting in union elections is fundamentally different from that in political elections. In political elections, the Amazon lawyers wrote, a “continuously updated voter address roll” and the ability to vote in person or by mail “promote security and voter turnout.”

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez criticized Amazon on Twitter, saying that the company had to let its workers form unions.

The company’s position on mail-in voting contradicts that of owner Jeff Bezos’s other major company, the Washington Post. The Post’s editorial board ran multiple articles assailing then-President Donald Trump’s criticisms of mail-in voting. One op-ed, published August 17, called his comments “bogus fear-mongering.”

Washington Post Executive Editor Marty Baron said in 2019 of Bezos’s tenure as owner of the newspaper, “He hasn’t interfered with a single story. He hasn’t suggested a story. He hasn’t squelched a story. He hasn’t critiqued a story, hasn’t criticized a story,” according to Deadline.

If Amazon’s efforts to force an in-person vote fail, the Bessemer warehouse will hold the union election between Feb. 8 and March 30, according to AL.com

COLUMN BY

MICHAEL GINSBERG

General assignment reporter.

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Cindy McCain, Jeff Flake And Gov. Doug Ducey Censured By Arizona Republican Party

EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Caller column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Are CEOs Overpaid? by Gary M. Galles

Are corporate managers and CEOs overpaid?

Many politicians rail against “overpaid” corporate managers. But these attacks overlook the issues of risk and uncertainty.

Workers agree to compensation before performing their work. Consequently, their compensation reflects not a known value but their expected value when arrangements are made.

Managers who turn out more productive than expected will have been underpaid, those less productive than expected will have been overpaid. But examples of the latter don’t prove managers are generally overpaid.

As performance reveals productivity, competition will also bid compensation of superior managers up and inferior managers down. And we must consider the present value of that entire stream, not a given year’s results, to evaluate managers’ productivity versus pay.

No manager is always right, but not every mistake is proof that they’re overpaid. They are paid for superior, not flawless, judgment — fewer mistakes, but not no mistakes.

That is another reason top managers of large enterprises will be very highly compensated. A 1% higher probability of being right on a $1 billion bet is very valuable, and even more so for a $10 billion bet. But even the best will err sometimes, so mistakes don’t prove shareholders are overpaying for managerial judgment.

This is part of a series of micro-blogs by Professor Galles responding to frequently asked questions on economic issues. If you have a question, emailAnythingPeaceful@FEE.org. 

Los Angeles Shows Us the Real Reason Why Unions are Pushing for Minimum Wage Increases

Unions like the SEIU have spent millions funding “worker centers” that stage “grassroots,” “Fight for $15” minimum wage protests.

In Los Angeles, they scored a win. However, unions want to be exempted from the wage hike:

Labor leaders, who were among the strongest supporters of the citywide minimum wage increase approved last week by the Los Angeles City Council, are advocating last-minute changes to the law that could create an exemption for companies with unionized workforces.

The push to include an exception to the mandated wage increase for companies that let their employees collectively bargain was the latest unexpected detour as the city nears approval of its landmark legislation to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020.

For much of the past eight months, labor activists have argued against special considerations for business owners, such as restaurateurs, who said they would have trouble complying with the mandated pay increase.

But Rusty Hicks, who heads the county Federation of Labor and helps lead the Raise the Wage coalition, said Tuesday night that companies with workers represented by unions should have leeway to negotiate a wage below that mandated by the law.

On the surface it seems odd that labor unions being big proponents of raising the minimum wage would want an exemption.

But it’s not when you understand the push isn’t about raising workers’ wages; it’s about boosting union membership, as Diana Furchtgott-Roth of the Manhattan Institute explains:

Although the union-funded Raise the Wage campaigned so vociferously in favor of a $15.25 minimum wage, unions are seeking exemptions from the higher wages for their members. The exemption, or escape clause, would allow them greater strength in organizing workplaces.  Unions can tell fast food chains, hotels, and hospitals that if they agree to union representation, their wage bill will be substantially lower.  That will persuade employers to allow the unions to move in.

There’s a reason minimum wage protesters often use the phrase, “Fight for $15 and a union!”

With more union members will come more union dues and bigger budgets, Furchtgott-Roth writes:

Once the higher minimum wage bill is signed into law, with the exemption for unions, then organizing becomes a win-win for employers and unions. Unions get initiation fees of about $50 per worker and a stream of dues totaling 2 percent to 4 percent of the workers’ paychecks.

As a minimum wage increase in the Bay Area has shown, there will be pain. Businesses there have had to cut workers’ hours or close because of the additional labor costs.

Unions haven’t found a way to reverse the decades-long trend of declining membership. So instead of finding new ways of convincing workers to join unions, they come up with scheme to raise the minimum wage then demanding carve outs for themselves.

It’s blatantly obvious these minimum wage campaigns are cynical efforts for expanding union rolls.

Meet Sean Hackbarth  @seanhackbarth Follow @uschamber

RELATED ARTICLES:

Who’s Hurt Most by Los Angeles’ $15 Minimum Wage

The SEIU’s Latest Plot to Destroy the Franchise Business Model

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of protesters holding signs at a rally in support of minimum wage increase in New York City. Photo credit: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg.

LA Unions Demand Exemption from $15 Minimum Wage They Created by Daniel Bier

If there was ever any doubt that LA’s minimum wage hike was meant to help the labor unions at the expense of everyone else, I hope we can now put that idea to bed.

The LA Times reports,

Labor leaders, who were among the strongest supporters of the citywide minimum wage increase approved last week by the Los Angeles City Council, are advocating last-minute changes to the law that could create an exemption for companies with unionized workforces. . . .

Rusty Hicks, who heads the county Federation of Labor and helps lead the Raise the Wage coalition, said Tuesday night that companies with workers represented by unions should have leeway to negotiate a wage below that mandated by the law.

“With a collective bargaining agreement, a business owner and the employees negotiate an agreement that works for them both. The agreement allows each party to prioritize what is important to them,” Hicks said in a statement. “This provision gives the parties the option, the freedom, to negotiate that agreement. And that is a good thing.”

Unions want to give workers and business the option — the freedom! — to prioritize what’s important to them and negotiate their own pay! Isn’t that nice. But only if those workers are paying union dues, and only if those businesses are using union labor.

The minimum wage hike was always meant to make independent workers more expensive and make unions look better by comparison. But it’s a bold move for the unions to simply say, in one breath, “Everyone deserves a living wage! It’ll be good for everyone! Except us, thank you. We’ll set our own pay — and also, give a break to any businesses who agree to go back to union labor.”

More on this transparently corrupt policy of the minimum wage by FEE’s Jeffrey Tucker.


Daniel Bier

Daniel Bier is the editor of Anything Peaceful. He writes on issues relating to science, civil liberties, and economic freedom.

Seeing the Light on School Choice

The arguments against school choice in America are growing more desperate and outrageous as the special interest groups allied against the educational opportunities of America’s school children begin to lose their fight. In a remarkable development, a number of prominent Democrats are siding with Republicans on school choice and in the fight for the educational futures of millions of American children.

These special interest groups are experts at making us believe they’re in it for the kids but this message is far different from the one that takes place behind closed doors.

Think about it; where else do rational people argue against choice? We want to choose our doctors. We want to choose our childcare providers. We want to choose our home contractors. We want to choose the supermarket where we shop. We want to choose the restaurants where we eat. We want to choose which colleges we attend. We want to choose our lawyers, our accountants, our landscapers, our mechanics, our barbers, our butchers, and just about every other provider whose services or products we may want or need.

If choice is the obvious answer for nearly every other arena, then why is there such a controversy when it comes to educational options? The controversy stems from the fact that a number of special interest organizations make a living, and will continue to exist, only if the failed system in place continues to be forced down our throats. These special interest groups are experts at making us believe they’re in it for the kids but this message is far different from the one that takes place behind closed doors. If you have any doubts read the following quote from National Education Association lawyer, Bob Chanin, speaking in 2009 at the National Education Association’s (NEA) annual meeting:

Despite what some among us would like to believe it is not because of our creative ideas. It is not because of the merit of our positions. It is not because we care about children and it is not because we have a vision of a great public school for every child. NEA and its affiliates are effective advocates because we have power.

The NEA, and their sister organizations, are showing their unwillingness to get results, and to fight for a better educational future by their intransigence and their unwillingness to allow parents a choice, and a voice, in the process.

This quote is appalling. Speaking with educators in my family and those I came into contact with on my political campaigns, I bet most teachers would agree. The tragic irony of this quote is that the power Mr. Chanin speaks of is leveraged at the expense of both America’s school children AND its teachers. The NEA and its sister organizations, which have carelessly pursued a merciless, one-sided negotiation strategy, have ignored the alternatives for their members and are costing them both money and career flexibility.

South Korea, a country with a world-class education system, compensates its teachers at approximately two and a half times GDP per capita, while in the United States the ratio is roughly one to one. In addition, South Korean parents spend more on education for their children than parents in any other country (15% of Gross National Product) to attain academic excellence. To be clear, I am not making a case for or against more or less government or private spending on education in this specific piece. But, I am arguing that the education special interests are doing a disservice to their members and to the country by fighting for the failed status quo, and against school choice, under the misguided belief that the educators they represent will suffer financially. South Koreans are willing to spend such large sums on education and, in the process, improve the financial well being of their teachers, because they are getting results. The NEA, and their sister organizations, are showing their unwillingness to get results, and to fight for a better educational future by their intransigence and their unwillingness to allow parents a choice, and a voice, in the process.

Freedom, liberty and choice work because bureaucrats will never possess the information necessary about you and your children to make better decisions than you can make for yourselves. The value of a top tier education will only grow in a globalized future, where productivity enhancements will increasingly come from the arena of ideas, and less from the arena of physical labor.

This is a fight we can all get behind, regardless of our partisan leanings. Invest your time in the fight for school choice and educational freedom and tomorrow will pay us all back a handsome dividend.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the Conservative Review.

INFOGRAPHIC: How Unions Are Chewing Through Taxpayer Dollars

Nicole Rusenko and Kelsey Harris write and graphically display on The Daily Signal:

Did you know your tax dollars are financing unions?

Thanks to what the federal government calls “official time,” government workers spent 2.4 million hours on union work in 2010. In fact, the Internal Revenue Service alone has 286 full-time employees who work exclusively for the National Treasury Employees Union.

Check out the infographic below for more details on whose special interests (and pockets) your money is going.

WARNING: This infographic may upset your stomach and shrink your wallet.

OfficialTime_Infographic_Rusenko-011

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Nicole Rusenko Nicole Rusenko@ncrusen20

Nicole Rusenko is a senior designer at The Heritage Foundation.

 

Portrait of Kelsey Harris

Kelsey Harris
Kelsey Harris is the visual editor at The Daily Signal and digital media associate at The Heritage Foundation.

Keep Unions Out of College Athletics

We’ve been raised to compete, to want more! More! More! It’s a way of life. It’s about greed. — Sandy Duncan, actress, singer

And so, the label “amateur” will likely be lifted from college football players very soon. No more is it about earning scholarships, attaining a college education, and working hard at a sport in order to pay for that education. It’s all about greed.

Gimme, gimme, gimme.

The National Labor Relations Board issued a ruling in March declaring football players from Northwestern as “employees” of the university and therefore the right to form a union.

What?

That’s like saying tuba players in the band are employees of the college. Maybe even swimmers, cheerleaders and chess players. After all, they all compete, they all enhance the “sporting” events and they all work hard.

Yes, football players work hard at their sport. But they are not employees! They are students of a college or university who – in most situations – must maintain a particular grade average in order to be granted the privilege to compete.

Now, a mighty foot has wedged into the proverbial door for unions to take over college sports. It may start with football, but don’t think for a minute this won’t spill over to basketball, baseball, soccer, lacrosse, wrestling and more, even beyond sports.

For their hard work and training, many football players have earned scholarships at institutions of higher learning, which is worth a lot of money, not only in tuitions but in achieving an education that will prepare them for profitable careers in later life. There’s the reward.

Some outstanding players are often cherry-picked into the big leagues where millions of dollars are bestowed upon them as a pro. That’s another reward for being great at their sport.

But until then, the kids are primarily students. Other than teachers, there is no place in amateur/university sports for unions. Union power will eventually translate in to sport domination, collective bargaining and if they deem necessary, strikes and sit-downs. And it will reach out to all other extra-curriculum activities on campus.

Talk about opening Pandora’s box.

Collective bargaining will translate to higher and higher salaries, which will create the need for new sources of funding. Network television is already established and on board. So where will that come from?

Ticket sales. Vendor costs.

Today’s pro baseball and football, ticket prices have soared out of sight to where the average family can barely afford a day at the ball game, unless they sit in the bleachers over center field or the end zone. The bulk of good seating is reserved for corporations, politicians, and clients of all sizes and shapes of money bags.

Fortunately, prices for attending amateur school games have not hit the stratosphere – yet. But wait until the costs of ball players generate the need for revenue – revenue which the average Joe cannot afford.

Going to college is first and foremost about attaining education. Sports and their associated events are an important element of college life, but it’s not a “profession.” If kids wish to dodge education and go for the big bucks, they can always apply for the pros once out of high school.

Amy Perko, Executive Director of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics said, “Universities and the NCAA, not unions, need to be the ones to guarantee benefits, like multi-year scholarships.”

When it comes to students, regardless of their extra curricula, unions should be kept out of the universities and colleges. To say that students who play sports are an “employee” of the school, is not only absurd, it’s nothing but a money-grubbing ploy to destroy the spirit of school sports now and forever…not only for the kids, but the families and spectators as well.

Amy Perko enunciates many of the benefits that college athletes should be entitled to, outside of being paid “salaries” as an employee. Watch the video:

RELATED STORIES:

College Players Granted Right to Form Union – NYTimes.com

College Athletes Granted the Right to Unionize—Is This the End of the NCAA? | Alternet

The decline and fall of America’s unions

“Hell hath no fury like a bureaucrat scorned.” – Milton Friedman

Many blame the decline of union membership on Republicans and big business. But is that what history tells us? The answer is: No!

As political power becomes more centralized there is an irreversible decline in the power of unions. It is a cause and effect that cannot be denied or stopped.

American unions began forming in the mid-19th century in response to the social and economic impact of the industrial revolution. National labor unions began to form in the post-Civil War Era. The Knights of Labor emerged as a major force in the late 1880s, but it collapsed because of poor organization, lack of effective leadership, disagreement over goals, and strong opposition from employers and government forces.

Government forces are accelerating the collapse of unions. But how?

Oleg Atbashian in his book Shakedown Socialism writes, “Union perks mean nothing when there is nothing left to redistribute. The Soviets learned it the hard way. The American unions don’t seem to be able to learn from the mistakes of others.”

A recent example is how the unions first supported the Affordable Care Act and are now opposing it.

Townhall.com reported in July 2013, “The leaders of three major U.S. unions, including the highly influential Teamsters, have sent a scathing open letter to Democratic leaders in Congress, warning that unless changes are made, President Obama’s health care reform plan will “destroy the foundation of the 40 hour work week that is the backbone of the American middle class.”

If that’s not bad enough, the Affordable Care Act, if not modified, will “destroy the very health and wellbeing of our members along with millions of other hardworking Americans,” the letter says.

Atbashian uses the example of Poland’s Solidarnosc, an independent union that spearheaded the overthrow of the oppressive Communist regime in 1989.  Why? Because, “…Current [union] perks can only exist in a free and competitive economy that ensures growth and generates wealth – known as ‘capitalist exploitation’ in the lingo of the champions of ‘redistributive justice’.”

Unions are only relevant if they retain their control to collectively bargain for wages and benefits. If the government takes over this role, as it did workplace safety with OSHA, then unions are doomed.

When government becomes the sole arbiter of the social and economic impact of industry, then unions are forced to submit.

Atbashian notes, “The workers are not herd animals, nor are they a separate biological species with a different set of interests. They are as human as anyone else who possesses a mind and free will, and therefore their long-term interests are not different than the rest of humanity. And since the interests of humanity lie with liberty, property rights and the rule of law, this is what the unions should stand for.”

Milton Friedman, in Free to Choose: A Personal Statement, wrote, “The ICC [Interstate Commerce Commission] illustrates what might be called the natural history of government intervention. A real or fancied evil leads to demands to do something about it. A political coalition forms consisting of sincere, high-minded reformers and equally sincere interested parties. The incompatible objectives of the members of the coalition (e.g., low prices to consumers and high prices to producers) are glossed over by fine rhetoric about ‘the public interest,’ ‘fair competition,’ and the like. The coalition succeeds in getting Congress (or a state legislature) to pass a law. The preamble to the law pays lip service to the rhetoric and the body of the law grants power to government officials to ‘do something.’ The high-minded reformers experience a glow of triumph and turn their attention to new causes. The interested parties go to work to make sure that the power is used for their benefit. They generally succeed. Success breeds its problems, which are met by broadening the scope of intervention.”

Friedman noted, “Bureaucracy takes its toll so that even the initial special interests [e.g. unions] no longer benefit. In the end the effects are precisely the opposite of the objectives of the reformers and generally do not even achieve the objectives of the special interests. Yet the activity is so firmly established and so many vested interests are connected with it that repeal of the initial legislation is nearly inconceivable. Instead, new government legislation is called for to cope with the problems produced by the earlier legislation and a new cycle begins.”

The “angel of death” for unions is progressivism, its primary weapon is big government bureaucrats, the anti-union soldiers.

RELATED: 

Union membership declines in 2012 – US Department of Labor

Under Obama, black unemployment back to twice the white rate – PEW Research

Governor Scott comes under fire for his $2,500 teacher pay giveaway

Governor Rick Scott announced that Florida will have a budget surplus in 2013-2014 of $437 million. That is good news. Republicans got to this point of a surplus after years of budget deficits by cutting the size of government programs. The Republican party stands for less government, lower taxes and less spending.

So what does Scott want to do with that money?

He wants to give teachers an across the board pay increase of $2,500, which will spend the entire surplus and more. This idea is drawing boos from teachers unions. It is also drawing fire from other public service employees such as fire fighters, EMS personnel and law enforcement officers. Why teachers and not them? Some are even saying that Scott is buying votes, much like President Obama and members of Congress who increase benefits for government employees and those who take for a living via welfare programs.

Here is something that Scott may not have considered: Why not give the money back to the taxpayers?

It is the taxpayer who carries the burden of the salaries and benefits of public employees. Any salary increase to any public employee is a further long term burden on the Florida Retirement System. The Tampa Bay Times reports, “In a major victory for the state, the Florida Supreme Court ruled 4-3 against state workers and allowed the state to retain the 3 percent levy on worker salaries to offset the state’s investment into the Florida Retirement System.”  Download Retirement ruling.

Union leaders do not like it when their members have to contribute to their own retirement programs like public sector employees do. So this move by Scott appears to be pandering to one group of union employees. Scott may be giving up hard fought ground based upon the recent Florida Supreme Court decision.

Who holds the bag for any government employee pay increase? Answer: Florida’s taxpayers.

We will see what the Florida legislature does with the budget surplus. Any bets that they will find a way to spend it? Are Republicans morphing into Progressives? What the legislature does with this surplus will be a key indicator of where they stand on taxes and spending.

Do We Really Want a Strong Commissioner of Education?

Jeffrey S. Solochek, staff writer for the Tampa Bay Times, reports, “Florida’s next education commissioner needs to have room to do the job without political interference, state Board of Education members said Friday as they set requirements for the vacancy.”

But do the Commissioners really want to stop political interference?

The Florida Board of Education (BOE) is itself political. Outgoing Chairwoman Kathleen M. Shanahan has held federal and state public policy positions of chief of staff for Florida Governor Jeb Bush, chief of staff to Vice President-elect Dick Cheney, deputy secretary of the California Trade and Commerce Agency, special assistant to then Vice President George Bush, and staff assistant on President Reagan’s National Security Council.

Vice Chairman Roberto Martinez, a lawyer, served as Chairman of the Florida Federal Judicial Nominating Commission; Special Counsel to Attorney General Charlie Crist; and as Chairman of the District Board of Trustees of Miami Dade College; Chair of Attorney-Elect Charlie Crist’s transition; General Counsel to Governor Jeb Bush during the gubernatorial transition.

Solochek quotes Martinez as saying, “The person has to be able to deal with the political process. But I think all of us … need to understand we need to give that person a lot of autonomy so they can function professionally with minimal interference from the political folks.”

On September 7, 2012 the State Board of Education moved forward with the search for the next Commissioner of Education approving the candidate profile developed by Ray and Associates. The search firm is conducting a nationwide search for Florida’s chief education officer who will be responsible for all aspects of the state’s Pre-K-20 education system. The deadline for applications is Sept. 27, 2012.

The Florida Legislature and Board of Education have come under fire from citizens with two actions that have disenfranchised students, parents and citizens.

The first action was removing citizen participation in the selection of text books used in Florida’s public schools. More recently the BOE unanimously voted to lower school passing scores after 2011 FCAT scores plummeted. This lowering of school passing scores occurred after political pressure from teachers unions, the superintendents association and school boards across Florida.

The Florida based Textbook Action Team (TAT) in May, 2011 became outraged with a provision in SB 2120 lines 118-120, which was passed by the Republican led legislature. The provision cuts out lay people from the State Instructional Materials Committee.

“Today all of Florida’s public school textbooks will be selected by bureaucrats, not citizens and parents” notes Sheri Krass, State Chairperson for TAT. Krass stated in a letter to Governor Scott, “Now, in a boldfaced attempt to avoid having to seat some of these individuals on the Committee, your State Legislature has passed SB 2120 which employs ‘three state or national experts in the content areas submitted for adoption’ to review the instructional materials and evaluate the content for alignment with the applicable Next Generation Sunshine State Standards. This move allows them to continue to deprive our students of the quality education they deserve.”

The second action was lowing the passing scores of public schools statewide.Cara Fitzpatrick, Shelly Rossetter and Jefferry S. Solochek of the Tampa Bay Times in their article “After FCAT scores plunge, state quickly lowers the passing grade” reported, “After conceding that poor communication with teachers could have contributed to the unprecedented plunge in Florida students’ writing scores this year, the state Board of Education voted Tuesday to lower the passing mark for the test.”

Teachers and administrators have known about the new testing standards for over a year. Teachers and school administrations actually write the Sunshine State Standards, the test questions and administer the tests. Many parents and citizens do not accept the premise that there was a communication gap. The new standards require that a student use proper sentence structure, punctuation and spelling. Each of these are fundamental to learning how to write.

All members of the Florida Board of Education are political appointees. How can politics be taken out of the classroom and replaced by empowered parents, students and citizens?

How do you take politics out of education? Perhaps this video from the Reason Foundation titled “The Machine” will help explain: