Several members of Congress have recently begun to shine a spotlight on an elaborate shell game — Big Labor’s deliberate avoidance of labor laws by leveraging non-profit community organizations, or so-called worker centers.
This summer, House Republicans began raising questions about the practices of union-backed worker centers, which continue to maintain that they are not subject to the labor organizing and disclosure requirements that govern unions.
Reps. John Kline, R-Minn. and Phil Roe, R-Tenn., asked Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez for an official determination as to why the groups that led the widely publicized strikes against retail and restaurant brands this summer aren’t subject to the same regulations as the unions that fund and guide them. Last week, Kline and Roe’s committee took the conversation a step further by holding a hearing on “The Future of Union Organizing,” but unfortunately no immediate outcomes or obligations on worker centers are likely to materialize.
Meanwhile, labor activist groups will happily continue their attack campaigns against any business with the audacity to try to eke out a profit. In this day and age, creating jobs and opportunities for the Americans who need them most is an even higher risk venture as unions, and their worker center attack dogs, scout for their newest target.
For Big Labor, it’s a matter of survival, with membership levels plunging toward all-time lows. Utilizing a model similar to that of ACORN, labor leaders have carefully constructed a blueprint to drive their agenda — masking their involvement and avoiding the law. Like the proverbial wolf in sheep’s clothing, many worker centers have cleverly portrayed themselves as benign, non-profit groups that enjoy support from local clergy and charitable foundations — many unaware of their true purpose. Some even receive taxpayer funding through government grants.
Consider New York Communities for Change, which was created out of the remnants of ACORN. It’s led by former ACORN organizers and even works out of the same offices that the defunct organization once occupied. From participating in Occupy Wall Street protests to orchestrating the fast food strikes in New York that served as the model for similar nationwide actions, NYCC and its Fast Food Forward campaign are far from local citizen groups focused on training and education.
Flush with millions in funding from the Service Employees International Union, NYCC and its affiliated organizations have served as Big Labor’s ground troops waging war on anyone employing part-time, low-wage workers. Demanding that these low-profit employers double minimum wages, provide paid sick leave and make it easy for even a few employees at a workplace to form their own mini-union is nothing short of a full-scale assault on business owners.
If you ever wondered what became of the Occupy Movement, look no further than these attacks by what worker center activists view as the “1 percent.”
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.