It should be of no surprise that companies are now starting to "weaponize" their own employees to try and keep the corruption and price gouging of unions out of their respective places of business.
...a new report from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), obtained by the Detroit Free Press, proves that the corruption inside of union offices around the country is far more rampant than you ever imagined. As the Free Press notes, in the past two years alone, more than 300 union locations have discovered embezzlement of union funds totaling millions of dollars...and that's just counting the people who got caught.
Even though the UAW is the poster child of union corruption, cases reported by the DOL involved unions representing nurses, aerospace engineers, firefighters, teachers, film and TV artists, air traffic controllers, musicians, bus inspectors, bakery workers, roofers, postal workers, machinists, ironworkers, steelworkers, dairy workers, plasterers, train operators, plumbers, stagehands, engineers, electricians, heat insulators, missile range workers and bricklayers. Meanwhile, the various cases involve embezzlement and fraud ranging from $1,051 up to nearly $6.5 million.
So it was no surprise when today, on Bloomberg it was reported that U-Haul workers were lobbying for the Trump administration to tackle rules that would make it tougher for unions to organize:
The men, along with dozens of other people working for U-Haul, the self-storage company, seem to have taken an outsized role in the debate over whether the Trump administration should revisit the rule. They’ve been doing this by flooding the National Labor Relations Board with very similar comments. While at least one employee said workers got together on their own, labor experts contend that the campaign has all the hallmarks of a company-influenced effort. U-Haul agreed, saying that while it didn’t compel workers to take part, it did provide the language for them to use.
Over the past few months, the NLRB received at least 100 similarly worded submissions urging it to throw out the policy that shortens the time between when some employees decide to unionize and when a vote is held. More than 60—roughly one out of every 25 comments submitted so far—used names matching people who work at the self-storage and rental giant, according to a review of LinkedIn pages and recent company announcements. More than a dozen additional comments appear to come from people who worked for the company in the past.
U-Haul was profiled as a company that is encouraging its employees to stand up for the same free market price discovery that allows their business to function, and ultimately pay them. Imagine the shock!
The article continues, noting that the practice has "seen a renaissance" in recent years:
The volume and similarity of comments raise questions as to whether there was a coordinated effort, said Paul Secunda, who directs the labor and employment law program at Marquette University. “These U-Haul employee comments to the NLRB smack of employee mobilization by the company itself,” he said, though encouraging employees to comment on proposed rulemaking is perfectly legal. That companies urge employees to take part in campaigns for or against government regulations isn’t novel, but the tactic has enjoyed a renaissance of late. Employers and the business lobby have recently urged workers to fight various corporate
taxes and support the recent tax legislation. Alexander Hertel-Fernandez, a political scientist at Columbia University who just wrote a book on the topic, recounted how a lobbyist bragged of helping a financial company get 100,000 letters opposing the fiduciary rule—the now-endangered conflict-of-interest regulation for financial advisers. Hertel-Fernandez said a telecommunications company interested in shaping a different debate established an internet portal for workers, providing letter templates they could tweak before sending.
Unionizing, and the forced labor rules and regulations that accompany it by the government does little to help free market price discovery. Instead, it is yet one additional method for government to stick their nose not only into the economy, but also into the world of both private and public businesses. Free market price discovery in the labor market means that individuals should be compensated by their skill set, productivity and what they bring to the table as employees, not by what the government has pre-arranged in as a deal for them or by what unions can embezzle.
It should come as no surprise that once these labor unions are granted power via regulation through the government that they can become extremely large, corrupt and powerful and often times associated with additional corruption and foul play outside of the workplace as we wrote about in January.
Of course, the biggest and most highly publicized union embezzlement scheme of 2017 involves multiple Fiat Chrysler and UAW employees who stole millions of dollars intended for worker training...
Jerome Durden, a former financial analyst in corporate accounting at Fiat Chrysler and former Controller of the UAW-Chrysler National Training Center, pleaded guilty in August 2017 after preparing and filing tax returns that concealed millions of dollars in prohibited payments directed to others in 2009-15. His sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 23.
Alphons Iacobelli, former vice president at FCA, was charged in July 2017 with conspiracy and delivering more than $1.2 million in prohibited payments and things of value to the late General Holiefield, former vice president of the UAW, Holiefield's wife and other UAW officials. His trial is scheduled for March 19.
Monica Morgan, wife of Holiefield, was charged in July 2017 with tax evasion and conspiracy stemming from her family’s receipt of more than $1.2 million from the former vice president of FCA between 2009 and 2014. Her trial is scheduled for March 19.
Virdell King, a former assistant director of the UAW-Chrysler National Training Center, pleaded guilty in August 2017 to receiving more than $40,000 in prohibited payments and things of value from the former vice president of FCA and “others acting in the interest of FCA.” Payments received between 2012 and 2015 included purchases of clothing, jewelry, luggage, golf equipment, concert tickets and theme park tickets. She is scheduled to be sentenced May 1.
If not anything else, the employees of U-Haul are getting taught a lesson to not “bite the hand that feeds them" and hopefully more companies moving forward will actively employ the same strategies to help keep free market price discovery in the labor market as ever present as they can, outside the confines of an already overly regulated economy and job market.