Face The State features a story today about a Denver construction site that has posted a sign restricting work to union membership:
A sign at a downtown Denver construction site warns, “If you are not currently an active member of a building trades local union, you are NOT allowed to work on this site.”
Picture by Steve Brown – Posted at Face The State
This story prompts a reaction from two different angles.
First, from the legal technical policy wonk side…. Under existing federal law that dates back to the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947, private sector “closed shops” are illegal. Simply put, a “closed shop” requires workers to be union members when they’re hired. That seems to be the message of the sign, which would make it patently illegal. To test the case, a non-union laborer who was rejected from working on the site could file a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board – which has a regional Denver office.
(In contrast to “closed shops,” “union shops” – “where nonmembers must become union members within a specified period of time or lose their jobs” – are legal in some cases. What are more commonly referred to as “closed shops” – work sites where workers don’t have to join the union but have to pay a fee to the union that in most cases is almost 100% of union dues value – are actually “agency shops.” Admittedly, these are distinctions with very small differences, but a certain Left-wing “watchdog” groups makes a living off criticizing misuses of this terminology.)
Second, from a political point of view, should a story like this one gain traction and publicity, it could only be good for the “right-to-work” ballot initiative, and bad for Democrat and union leaders who want a peaceful, Big Labor-friendly Convention in August.
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