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Union 'worker centers': Another ploy

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Saturday, July 27, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Desperate over their share of the private-sector workforce shrinking to 6.6 percent, labor unions increasingly are using an insidious organizing method that pushes the legal envelope under the guise of community organizing.

The Wall Street Journal reports Big Labor is funding nonprofit community “worker centers” — whose true purpose is building support for union organizing, thereby laying groundwork for workplace unionization elections. Not “labor organizations” under national labor law because they don't have ongoing bargaining relationships with employers, these centers have more latitude than unions in terms of picketing and other tactics.

End runs around labor law, worker centers are the subject of an ad campaign by the Center for Union Facts. Sometimes offering language classes for immigrants, these centers are essentially union subsidiaries.

They often are affiliated with — and paying membership fees to — the AFL-CIO. Worker centers' funders include the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, the United Steelworkers and the Service Employees International Union — which last year gave $2.5 million to a Brooklyn center formed by ex-leaders of defunct ACORN's New York chapter.

John Raudabaugh, a Republican former member of the National Labor Relations Board, expects an upswing in court challenges to worker centers' operations. Such litigation bears watching. As do worker centers themselves, nothing less than Big Labor's latest attempt to force new members into its ranks.

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