The 148,000-member North America’s Building Trades Unions endorsed Hillary Clinton for president of the United States following the announcement of her $275 billion infrastructure modernization plan and her plan to create a national infrastructure bank. The American Federation of Government Employees, representing 670,000 D.C. and federal government employees, also endorsed Clinton for president. Meanwhile, IAM confirmed that retiring President R. Thomas Buffenbarger will join Clinton’s presidential campaign as a volunteer labor liaison. Mr. Buffenbarger is required to leave office by age 65 under the union’s constitution.
The 700,000-member CWA endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders to be the next U.S. president, following the Senator’s support for CWA members in their contract negotiations with Verizon Communications. Larry Cohen, former CWA president, is one of Sen. Sanders’ top campaign advisers.
The Department of Labor (DOL) has submitted its proposed “persuader” rule to the Office of Management and Budget for review. The proposed rule is intended to narrow the scope of Section 203(c) of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act, which currently exempts legal consultant advice to employers from the general rule that any arrangement intended to persuade employees regarding their right to organize or bargain collectively must be reported. The proposed rule would limit protected communications to only written and oral recommendations. Despite criticism from the American Bar Association and other groups that the proposal would deteriorate attorney-client privilege, the DOL intends to finalize the rule by March 2016.
The Democratic National Committee revoked ABC affiliate WMUR’s sponsorship of its presidential debate due to a labor dispute between the New Hampshire television station and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1228. IBEW represents 22 employees in the station’s production department. All three democratic presidential candidates called on the station and its parent company, Hearst, to begin negotiations with the union.
Lincolnshire, a village of 7,300 people near Chicago, became the first right-to-work municipality in Illinois when its board passed a “worker empowerment” ordinance. The Illinois AFL-CIO has vowed to challenge the legality of the ordinance, which only applies to private sector workers. In anticipation of the challenge, the board made passage of the ordinance contingent on the village receiving pro bono legal representation by the Liberty Justice Center, a Chicago-based libertarian advocacy group. Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner has campaigned for the creation of local right-to-work zones across the state.
Republican lawmakers in the U.S. Congress failed in their attempt to attach a rider to the omnibus spending bill that would have delayed the implementation of the NLRB’s 2015 decision in Browning-Ferris Industries of California, Inc. The Board decision broadens the test for determining whether a business may be held liable as a “joint employer.” President Obama opposed the rider.
The NLRB announced the closure of its Division of Judges’ Atlanta office, effective January 4, 2016, leaving open only the New York, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. offices. The office’s current head, Associate Chief Judge William N. Cates, retired at the end of 2015, while the office’s other judges were reassigned to Washington.
Fourteen House Democrats sent a letter to the German government, asking the latter to investigate the alleged unfair labor practices of Deutsche Telekom and T-Mobile, its U.S. subsidiary. An earlier letter sent by a group of congresswomen to Chancellor Angela Merkel urged her to pressure the companies to rescind policies that prevent U.S. employees from addressing sexual harassment. The CWA, which has attempted to organize T-Mobile workers since 2008, supported the correspondence. The German government holds shares in Deutsche Telekom.