NRTW, Enzi Warned of DOL Deputizing Union Operatives

Labor-Badge-UNION-PosseAs the National Right To Work Committee warned in emails to its members and in this video that Solicitor of Labor M. Patricia Smith would approve deputizing union organizers with Obama Department of Labor (DOL)  powers, the Daily Caller provided evidence that DOL has authorized SEIU union officials to accompany federal employees while they inspect non-union facilities.  This is very similar to then-New York Labor Commissioner M. Patricia Smith’s NY state labor department visits on non-union employers and employees coordinated with United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), Retail Warehouse and Department Store Union (RWDSU), and other labor unions and labor union front groups like Make the Road New York.

From the Daily Caller: Union representatives from the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) are now accompanying federal government safety inspectors on site visits to review labor complaints at nonunion private businesses, The Daily Caller has learned.

SEIU and other labor unions can accompany the government inspectors on site visits due to a quiet and contested Obama administration rule clarification issued last year in response to a request from a union representative.

SEIU agents recently accompanied an inspector from the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), a division of the Department of Labor, on three visits to nonunion work sites under contract with the Houston-based janitorial company Professional Janitorial Services (PJS).

During M. Patricia Smith’s confirmation process, Sen. Mike Enzi’s Labor Committee Deputy Communications Director Michael Mahaffey outlined Smith’s inconsistencies in her testimony regarding her NY Labor Department’s collusion with labor unions:

First, Ms. Smith stated that the Wage and Hour Watch program was developed internally and only then did the New York Department of Labor approach outside groups. However, two of the pilot groups, the Retail Warehouse and Department Store Union (RWDSU) along with Make the Road New York, a public interest entity financed in part by unions, were heavily involved in developing all aspects of the program.

Second, Ms. Smith characterized Wage and Hour Watch as an educational program. It does not appear, however, that Ms. Smith’s subordinates, including the Wage and Hour Administrator nominee, Ms. Lorelie Boylan, or the union organizers and public interest groups who helped design the program concurred. For example, documents describe the program as an “enforcers” program, and email as well as a training document describe participants as community enforcers. There appears no question that those who created the program considered it enforcement.

Third, Ms. Smith stated that the two unions who were selected for the pilot program were told not to use the program for organizing. Unfortunately, that direction appeared nowhere in the approximately 3000 pages of material reviewed. Instead, the documents showed that the unions planned to use the program for organizing and the State appears to have done nothing about it. For example:

  • The Coordinator of Retail Organizing Projects for RWDSU is prominently involved in pushing for and developing the program, and RWDSU organizers conducted part of the program training.
  • The United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1500 in their written application stated that they plan to use Wage and Hour Watch in “all of our Organizing Campaigns.”
  • A March 2009 union newsletter states the union will specifically investigate “non-union” groceries as part of the program.
  • Signatories for the pilot program agreements for the two unions are union organizers as appear to be all those attending the program training and receiving state identification cards.
  • The Co-Chairman of the Wage and Hour Watch program is the president of the RWDSU.
  • A number of later applicants to join the program are entities whose sole purpose is union organizing -– e.g., the New York State Laborers Organizing Fund and the organizer for a Plumber’s Local.
  • The Wage and Hour nominee in an email suggested altering program participation requirements specifically to ensure up-state trade unions were eligible to join Wage and Hour Watch.

Fourth, Smith stated in response to multiple inquiries that there were no plans to expand until after a thorough evaluation of the pilot program. However, numerous documents (e.g., press releases, speeches, talking points, emails) actually suggest imminent plans to expand the program to up-state and/or statewide in virtually every instance — many with June 2009 deadlines. The State even sent out applications to a number of groups to join Wage and Hour Watch during May and June — after Ms. Smith testified before the Committee that there were no plans to expand immediately.