• Maine Governor Paul LePage (R) signed legislation repealing the Agricultural Employees Labor Relations Act. That law was enacted 15 years ago as a result of workplace safety violations at Maine’s largest egg farm, the DeCoster Egg Farm. The law was written to target DeCoster and granted collective bargaining rights at farms with at least 500,000 laying birds and 100 workers. Employees never exercised the right to vote for unionization and the farm has now changed ownership.
  • Michigan’s Governor Rick Snyder (R) signed a new law, S.B. 1018, changing the definition of a public sector employee to exclude anyone who receives a government subsidy for private employment. The law is designed to bar home-based caregivers from representation by public sector unions, particularly by the SEIU, that has been representing home health aids who care for individuals receiving Medicaid benefits.
  • The AFL-CIO announced last fall it was creating a super Political Action Committee (“PAC”) in order to communicate with the general public about the 2012 federal elections. It created “Workers Voices” PAC that was designed to “build an independent voice for the working and middle class.” Workers Voices has raised approximately $5.4 million in the past two quarters and plans to activate and energize networks of working families through “cutting-edge technology and old-fashioned energy.” Among their plans, Working Voices will have a Web site where workers can connect with friends, families, and neighbors on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites. The Web site also allows workers to make their homes a phone bank through a “click to call” application. Working Voices will also look to 14,000 work sites represented by unions and equip work site coordinators with a “toolbox” to help them become effective organizers. Workers Voices also plans to have a voters registration and protection operation that will help communities of color, seniors, and students exercise their right to vote.
  • The U.S. Senate voted, 45-54, not to proceed with the Congressional Review Act, a bill sponsored by Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo. The bill would have prevented the NLRB from implementing its changes to processing union representation petitions and holding elections.
  • Todd Rokita, R-Ind., introduced the Rewarding Achievement and Incentivizing Successful Employees Act to the U.S. House of Representatives. The Act would allow employers to bypass union restrictions and give raises to individual employees above the salary level set by the union. According to Rokita, the Act is designed to provide companies with a tool to be competitive in the current globalized economy.
  • Mayor Michael Bloomberg vetoed a New York City Council bill that required landlords and developers to pay prevailing wages for service workers in buildings in large economic development projects and buildings where the city leases are at least 10,000 square feet where the buildings receive tax abatements, rent, or other financial benefits from the city.
  • California Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation that clarifies a law that took effect in January 2012 that prohibits state funding for construction projects in municipalities with ordinances that restrict the use of project labor restrictions. The legislation applies to Fresno, Oceanside, and Chula Vista.
  • President Obama spoke at the AFL-CIO’s Building and Construction Trades Department’s annual conference in Washington, D.C. In his address, Obama vowed to protect union-favored policies promoting project labor agreements and prevailing wages under the Davis-Bacon Act.
  • President Obama withdrew his nomination of Thomas M. Beck to be a member of the NMB. Beck is a member of the Federal Labor Relations Authority. A reason for the withdrawal was not given.