Amid declining support and dwindling membership rolls, Big Labor continues its latest tactic to try to prevent its own demise. In the spirit of escaping the negative connotations associated with the “union” label (i.e. a history of corruption, driving companies into bankruptcy, and forcing employees to pay for political causes they don’t agree with), organized labor continues to hide behind so-called “workers centers.”
Two such “worker centers,” Fast Food Forward and OUR Walmart, performed coordinated efforts today: the SEIU front group Fast Food Forward staged a “strike” in Chicago, while OUR Walmart, a group backed by the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union, performed similar protests.
It’s a new approach to organized labor’s same old game. But this time, Big Labor is avoiding the rules and transparency requirements that lawfully regulate unions—the federal National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA)—through the thinly veiled mask of “workers centers.”
It’s a loophole exploited by organized labor, but not without criticism. A recent paper in the law journal of the Federalist Society examined several “worker centers” (including OUR Walmart) and determined that under NLRA and LMRDA, they should be regulated as labor organizations.
The protests and strikes by the union front groups may have made a lot of noise on the airwaves, but the decision to form a union should lie with the employees, not union bosses. That’s why real union reform with the Employee Rights Act is absolutely necessary.