Private Enterprise and Social Media

In one of The Wall Street Journal‘s frequent debate articles, this time about whether businesses should allow employees to use social media at work, a couple of comments made by the pro-use debater jumped out at me.

When I first began helping companies use Twitter and Facebook more than a decade ago, every organization started with this question: how can we use social media without compromising our security and privacy obligations?

Out of Touch?

President Donald Trump signed three Executive Orders impacting public service unions.  One of interest to me is this one.

The third restricts how much on-the-job time federal employees can spend on labor-union duties.

Naturally, the unions management teams are in an uproar over the requirement to have their members spend their work time…working.

Time an employee spends on union activities is time not spent on the work for which the employee was hired.  Union activity work is an additional duty requested by the union; it needs to be done entirely on the employee’s own time.  This restriction is a good start, but the union task time needs to be eliminated altogether from the employee’s work time.  The Federal government—all employers, come to that—hire individual workers, they don’t hire unions.  Unions aren’t temp agencies that provide workers.

How Bad is a Vocational Education?

Especially compared with a formal college education?  Oren Cass, Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, had some thoughts on that in a recent Wall Street Journal piece.

Elevating vocational education, and prioritizing its students, must begin with a substantial reshaping of American high schools. Vocational education will not succeed so long as culture and public policy consign it to second-class status—a dumping ground for students who interfere with what school districts consider their real mission, college prep.

It’s Not Your Company

Seattle wants to charge a head tax on businesses operating in the city, a tax whose amount would be just what it sounds like—a tax based on the number of hours worked by each employee the business has on its payroll.

In response to the proposal, Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO, paused construction on a 17-story office tower in downtown Seattle.

In response to Amazon, the Left in Seattle, spearheaded by the Service Employees International Union-backed activist gang—Working Washington—wants Amazon charged with a felony.

A Teachers Union Strike

There have been teachers union strikes in Oklahoma, Kentucky, and West Virginia, and now there’s one set to go off later this week in Arizona.  Readers know my disdain for union strikes generally: they’re nothing but legalized extortion—”nice business you got here.  Be too bad if something were to happen to it.  Like, say, it’s destroyed because nobody works here anymore.”  It isn’t possible to negotiate when the other party is sticking a gun in your ear—even if it’s “just” a metaphorical gun.

But it’s especially despicable when it’s a teachers union strike.  These persons are using children as hostages to back up their extortion.  And the Arizona one is all about ego and hurt feelings.

A Board Whose Time has Come and Gone

The National Labor Relations Board is supposed to protect all workers, but it’s been focused on union workers exclusively for far too long.  In the effort, too, it’s become far too politicized to be useful or able to be rehabilitated.

For instance, it ignores the courts.

In [a] DC Circuit case…the NLRB ignored the court’s longstanding precedent on an employer’s bargaining obligations under a collective-bargaining agreement, forcing a Michigan health clinic to defend itself against charges it knew the court would reject.

Fired or Resigned?

Ex-Veterans Affairs Secretary is making his case that he didn’t resign, he was fired.

Shulkin said he had not submitted a resignation letter, or planned to, and was only told of Trump’s decision shortly before the Twitter announcement.

Of course, the format of a resignation is immaterial to the act; in particular, letters are the polite, professional way to quit, but they’re not required, not at all.  Too, learning that your boss wants you to leave “shortly before the Twitter announcement” might be impolite, even impolitic, but again, learning the boss’ desire is not required for resigning.  Nor is desiring one to leave the same as firing that one.

I am Shocked, Shocked

Recall Amazon.com’s playing off of several cities against each other in order to maximize the tax breaks and other returns that company might get for building its second headquarters in the “winning” city.  Now we discover this in the offing:

US cities vying for Amazon.com Inc’s second headquarters risk facing an unexpected consequence to victory: other companies will demand the same hefty tax breaks conferred on the online retail giant.

How amazing is that?  Other companies want in on the goodies.

I’m not shocked at that; I’m shocked that those cities’ managers didn’t see this coming.  Their lack of anticipation speaks poorly of their ability to respond to those demands.

Agency Fees

These are fees unions in a raft of jurisdictions are allowed to charge non-union members as a condition of those workers’ right to work at all.  Ostensibly, the fees are for the unions’ labor efforts in negotiating wages, benefits, and working conditions for everyone in the workplace.  The Supreme Court is considering a case, Janus v AFSCME, concerning whether such fees are constitutional.

It’s already the case that

Agency fees already are forbidden from paying for advocacy and other political activity.

Against Their Own Interest

Fast food workers began protesting yesterday, demanding higher wages and the right to join a union.  Ashley Cathey, a 29-year-old Memphis fast food person, had this:

Fast-food cooks and cashiers like me are fighting for higher pay and union rights, the same things striking sanitation workers fought for 50 years ago.  We’re not striking and marching just to commemorate what they did—we’re carrying their fight forward. And we won’t stop until everyone in this country can be paid $15 an hour and has the right to join a union.