In Which a Judge Gets It Right

…but is forced to rule wrongly.

The SEIU sued University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, alleging “unfair” labor practices in that, claimed the union, UPMC management interfered with employees’ right to organize. In connection with that suit, the NLRB issued three subpoenas demanding “highly confidential and proprietary information” be released from UPMC to the union.

Federal District Judge Arthur Schwab found the NLRB’s subpoenas, among other things, over broad and unfocused, and so illegitimate. He also found the subpoenas fundamentally irrelevant to the underlying case (which itself would have rendered the subpoenas inappropriate). He went further. In noting that the NLRB itself made no serious effort to argue the relevance of its subpoenas, he wrote [emphasis added]

Scottish Independence

The view of a poor, dumb colonial.

Suppose the Scottish referendum next week goes in favor of independence. What would be next for Scotland?

Among the complexities of separation is the matter of pensions provided by employers. Most such pensions are not fully funded; although, most such pension providers have apparently viable plans for curing the shortfall, over some number of years. However, the EU (and we’ll assume Scotland succeeds in joining the EU for this bit) requires all pension funds with members in two or more countries to be fully paid up. Moreover, funds that are not have only two years to get fully paid up. There are quite a number of large-ish UK companies, employing thousands each, whose pension funds have members in both countries, and whose pension funds are on one of those “some number of years to fund” plans.

Jobs

According to Friday’s jobs report, the headline number, the unemployment rate, dropped a skosh to 6.1%. But there’s more to it than that.

  • the long-term unemployed dropped to 3 million, but they’re still over 30% of all of US unemployed
  • the employment-population ratio was 59% for the third consecutive month

and

  • the civilian noninstitutional population was 248,229,000, up 206,000 from July, but
  • the civilian labor force was 155,959,000, down 64,000 from July

Then there’re these data:

  • nonfarm employment was up 142,000, against economists’ expectations of an increase of around 225,000 jobs

Economic Gains

President [Barack] Obama used Labor Day to tout the country’s economic gains under his leadership….

Let’s look at those gains.

  • he’s increased the national debt in his six years by 70%—it stood at $10 trillion at the end of 2008; it’s now over $17 trillion
  • median income has fallen—it stands now at $53,900 compared with $56,700 in December 2007 at the start of the current economic dislocation
  • job creation is only just back to pre-Panic levels, 6 years into his administration, compared with normal economic recovery needing only 2-3 years to get to this point

Obamacare and Jobs

The results are starting to come in, via three independently done polls by three separate Federal Reserve Banks.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia:

  • 78.8% of businesses in the district have made no change to the number of workers they employ as the specific result of ObamaCare
  • 3% are hiring more
  • 18.2% are cutting jobs and employees
  • 18% shifted the composition of their workforce to a higher proportion of part-time labor
  • 88.2% of the roughly half of businesses that modified their health plans as a result of ObamaCare passed along the costs through increasing the employee contribution to premiums, an effective cut in wages

Social Guarantees

Ilan Brat and Giada Zampano wrote, in a recent Wall Street Journal piece, about job protections and their effects on the prospects of today’s children and young adults in Europe. The whole article is well worth the read for its specifics, but from my perspective, the following is the money quote, from one of those young adults, Ms Serena Violano, a 31-year-old still sharing a room with her older sister in their parents’ home:

For our parents, everything was much easier. They had the opportunity to start their own life. Instead, we don’t have any guarantees for our own future.

A Precious Union

The Metropolitan Opera singers union resumed contract talks on Monday after a two-month hiatus, but union officials said they had little hope of reaching an agreement before a threatened lockout.

And no wonder, with such an awesome sense of entitlement.

“He doesn’t want to help us maintain our instruments,” said chorus member Jean Braham, commenting on the effect [Met General Manager Peter] Gelb’s proposed high-deductible health plan could have on singers’ voices and bodies.

“We are the artists,” Ms Braham said, her voice cracking. “We are the product. The fact that he accepts no responsibility and no accountability is just incredible to me.”

Another Reason

…to disband the NLRB.

McDonald’s Corp could be treated as a joint employer with its franchisees in labor complaints, according to a National Labor Relations Board legal determination….

The relationship between a franchisee and the parent franchisor varies in the details of the franchise contract. However, the general nature of the reputation is quite limited. The franchisee gets to use the franchisor name and the franchisor’s marketing and accounting assistance, and it gets the franchisor’s market power in holding down the cost of supplies. In return, the franchisee is bound to the franchisor’s rules regarding the use to which the franchise name is put and the nature, quality, and standardization of the product being sold. The franchisee also is required to refrain from activities that would result in denigration of the franchise name.

Paul Ryan’s Expanding Opportunity in America

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s “Expanding Opportunity in America” proposal can be seen in full here. I’ll only comment on parts of it in this post.

On the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty, then, we should reexamine the federal government’s role. For too long, the federal government has tried to supplant, and not to support, the people fighting poverty on the front lines—families, neighborhoods, community groups. In the fight against poverty, the people ultimately are the vanguard, and government is the rearguard. Government protects the supply lines. But it is the people themselves who take to the front lines.

A Thought from the Border Crisis and Immigration Generally

…it’s not limited to those topics, but it was triggered by a quote by Dr Manny Alvarez in his piece about the bias of the Latino press in its coverage of the current children border crisis. What Alvarez said was this:

The crisis reminds me of that old saying: “Give a man a fish, and he’ll eat for a day; teach a man to fish, and he’ll eat for a lifetime.”

Alvarez offered this aphorism in the context of needing to address the root cause of the crisis, not merely treat the symptom that is what the crisis is.