As a management-side labor and employment firm, we frequently find ourselves on the other side of unions. Unions are never shy to point out what they view as unfair, or poor terms and conditions of employment, even if their position is not objectively reasonable. So what happens when the unions themselves are accused of treating their own employees poorly?
I came across an opinion piece from the Wall Street Journal last week on that very topic. Entitled “Is Big Labor Anti-Worker?,” the article reveals that hourly employees in the Washington offices of the American Federal of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (“AFL-CIO”) and Service Employees International Union (“SEIU”) claim that their Union employers are treating them unfairly.
Represented by the Office and Professional Employees International Union, the employees accuse the AFL-CIO and SEIU of not sharing their wealth with their employees. According to the editorial, the AFL-CIO is attempting to implement a new contract that would freeze its own employees’ pay for three years and reduce sick leave. Additionally, the SEIU and its pension fund has not given its employees a wage increase or cost of living increase in two years.
This is all a bit hypocritical if you ask me, considering that the Unions’ self-proclaimed platform is that employers do not adequately share their wealth with their employees. If an employer sought to implement such practices for either Unions’ bargaining unit members, the SEIU and AFL-CIO would undoubtedly be up in arms, levying accusations that the employer is anti-worker and hoarding its wealth. It appears that the SEIU and AFL-CIO do not practice what they preach. Maybe its time for these Unions to take a good hard look in the mirror the next time they rush to criticize employers for the ways in which they treat their employees.