An Unbelievable Labor Contract

Yesterday Mike Antonucci at Hot Air posted a few excerpts from the current contract covering National Education Association employees.

The article reports:

About 500 people work at NEA national headquarters in Washington, DC. A handful of unions represent them, the largest being the National Education Association Staff Organization (NEASO). NEA and NEASO negotiated a 136-page collective bargaining agreement in June 2012, and it runs through the end of May 2015. I have posted the full document on EIA’s Declassified page, but to save you the energy of mining it yourself, here are a few provisions I thought were worthy of highlighting:

…NEA must assume financial liability for an employee who is prosecuted or sued “because of any act taken by him/her in the course of his/her employment.” Under these circumstances, unless the employee is guilty of “gross negligence or gross irresponsibility,” he or she “shall be paid at his/her regular hourly rate for all time spent in jail.”

…NEA is required to provide “an appropriately furnished lounge” for employees at union headquarters. The contract specifically requires NEA to “make an ice machine available to employees in the building.”

There are many other provisions, including reserved parking spaces, valet services when traveling, and other things that most of us would never expect to see in an employment contract. Most of us would love to be covered by an employment contract that covers the items this contract does, but most of us realize that if a company wants to stay in business (and thus provide us with a job), they would probably not be able to afford a contract similar to the one that covers the NEA employees. The article unintentionally points out how big the gap has become between working in the private sector and working for an agency related to the government.

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General Motors (aka Government Motors) and the UAW Have Agreed On A Contract (Or Why I Drive A Mustang)

Normally, I wouldn’t particularly care whether or not GM reached a contract agreement with the UAW, but since the government has made me a stockholder, I thought that maybe I should pay attention.

The International Business Times reported on Saturday that a new contract between GM and the UAW has been tentatively agreed on. The contract includes signing bonuses and better profit sharing for the employees.

The article reports:

Workers at Chrysler Group LLC, whose contract also expired on September 14, continue to negotiate for terms of their new deal.

The UAW is not allowed to call strikes for workers at GM and Chrysler under the terms of the federal bailouts which those companies received.

Workers at Ford Motor (which did not receive a federal bailout, which allows them to strike) are also in talks for a new contract.

Any bets on the possibility of a UAW strike action against Ford this year?

There is one aspect of this contract that I could not find any reporting on. In his book, Car Wreck, Mark Ragsdale explains an auto industry practice called ‘jobs banks.’ Jobs banks require that two and a half years of wages be paid to laid off workers. On February 10, 2009, Ford Motor Company announced it had negotiated jobs banks penalties out of its UAW contracts. Because Ford rejected federal bailout money, the UAW was forced to negotiate in order to avoid the company going bankrupt. I suspect the UAW will try very hard this year to put those jobs banks penalties back in.

Taxpayer bailout money is currently paying General Motors workers for work while they sit at the ‘jobs bank’ all day and do nothing–another example of a total waste of tax dollars. Obviously when this was done by a private company (GM), it was not practical–the company had to be bailed out, so why is the government allowing the nonprofitable behavior to continue? It will be interesting to see what happens to the jobs banks in the new contract and if the UAW decides to strike Ford to put the jobs banks back in there.

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