Sunday, January 31, 2010

Stern Calls Senators Who Don't Support EFCA "Terrorists"

Andy Stern, president of the Service Employees International Union, took a swipe at Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) Tuesday, calling the senators “terrorists” for their opposition to the card-check bill, which Democrats call the Employee Free Choice Act.

“There are a lot of terrorists in the Senate who think we are supposed to negotiate with them when they have their particular needs that they want met,” Stern told Bloomberg News. His comments, which also appeared in BusinessWeek magazine, apparently were prompted by the senators' reluctance to support the union-sponsored bill.

Stern and others in organized labor have always had a penchant for hyperbole, but the fact that Stern has access to the West Wing at will, and indeed has had more visits to the White House than any other person who doesn't actually work there reveals more about the Administration than it does about Stern.

Bottom line? The battle over EFCA is not over. Organized labor doesn't intend to go away empty handed.


Thursday, January 28, 2010

7 Years After "Why Work Isn't Working Anymore," Corporate America Is Finally "Getting It"

Seven years after the publication of our book, "Why Work Isn't Working Anymore -- Tools To Transform the Workplace As If People Mattered," which advocated, among other dynamics, the concept of employee happiness, particularly vis a vis relationships among employees and their supervisors, corporate America may finally be "getting it."

In today's Wall Street Journal, the article "Thinking Happy Thoughts At Work," some happiness "gurus" advocate many of the behaviors which Fritz Aldrine and I laid out almost a decade ago. See:

If you haven't read the book, it is available at

And, if what you read, either in the Journal article, or the book, rings true, the "Credible Connections" seminar and workshop is also available. Thousands of managers across the globe have achieved a higher degree of satisfaction, along with their employees, by understanding and adopting the real, but often hidden, relationship dynamics in the workplace.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Obama May Try Get Card Check Through In Jobs Bill

As we've said many times, EFCA isn't over.

Word is Obama's jobs bill will include “card-check.”

According to U.S. News, labor unions are claiming the long-delayed Employee Free Choice Act might be wrapped up in a second jobs and stimulus package the President could offer in his State of the Union Address Wednesday.

Even putting it in a popular job-creation bill won't insure its passage. Some democrats in the House representing conservative districts are already wary of endorsing the Obama agenda in light of recent Republican victories and the growing influence of the Tea Party movement.

But, Democratic leaders like Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi reportedly believe folding card-check into jobs legislation is the easiest way to get it passed, and are confident that Republicans will feel compelled to vote for the jobs legislation or face criticism at home.


Saturday, January 23, 2010

EFCA: Rumors of Its Death Are Premature

EFCA has been pronounced dead by some pundits.

Unfortunately, it didn't show up at the funeral.

To the contrary, EFCA is alive and may be back on the legislative agenda soon.

Of course, card check won't be there. In its place will be "quickie elections," which still pay lip-service to democratic principles, but in fact deprive the employer the opportunity of speech. Other changes are also in the offing. After all, only one Republican vote is needed to make something happen. We shall see.

As predicted, President Obama renominated labor activist, Craig Becker -- you know the one who believes that employers have no right to even be involved in the process of unionization. Last time around, he was put on ice by Senator McCain but it is expected he may get the nod this time after the political wrangling is over.

And that is important because if he is confirmed, there will be three labor activists on the five person Board and they (if they choose to do so) will be able to effectively implement EFCA without the necessity of legislation.

Indeed, the Board could unilaterally:

* Set the time-frame for union elections drastically reduced to a week or 10 days;

* Silence employers during the unionization process;

* Increase fines for interfering in the organization process;

* Issue a mandate to employers to provide organizers with names, addresses and phone numbers of all employees and free access to company facilities to speak to employees about unionization:

* Require organization by card check with signatures certified by a "neutral" third-party examiner.

* Or, any or all of the above.

Of course, law suits would fly but by the time those were resolved, thousands of employers would have been organized.

Stay tuned. We're not at the end of the book, but just starting a new chapter.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Picketer Admits Being Paid $50 to Hold Placard for Coakley

It really doesn't get any richer (or more pathetic) than this.

In Massachusetts' Special Senate Election, where Republican Scott Brown has mounted a serious challenge to the assumed shoe-in Democrat Martha Coakley, certain union picketers admit they were paid $50 to hold placards for Coakley.

Then one admitted he is voting for Brown.

50 bucks to picket; the desperation is priceless.


As mentioned in an earlier blog, this will be a most important election.

Coakley will vote "party-line" on every issue, including health care and the Employee Free Choice Act. Indeed, to show her undying loyalty to organized labor, she now supports the Express Carrier Employee Protection Act, another psychotically-named bill that would do nothing more than tee up Federal Express to union organization by removing it from coverage of the Railway Labor Act and put it under the National Labor Relations Act, thereby completely ignoring the fact that the courts have held consistently that FedEX belongs under the former, not the latter, because it is an airline.

What happens tomorrow in Massachusetts will affect the labor and health policy of our nation for many years to come.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


To follow via Twitter, go to @crediblyconnect

In addition to blog updates, you will receive additional posts throughout the week on human resources and labor relations topics of interest.

Reid Losing Support Over Card Check

Next Tuesday's special election in Massachusetts will likely determine the future of a lot of legislation, including the Employee Free Choice Act.

On another front, Harry Reid, Senate Majority Leader, is struggling to avoid being the Tom Daschle of 2010. He is been trailing badly every poll no matter his ultimate opponent. And, according to a Workforce Fairness Institute (WFI) survey, his support for card check is compounding his problems back home in Nevada.

“While union bosses in Washington, D.C. tout the importance of passing the job-killing Employee ‘Forced’ Choice Act, few union households are familiar with the proposal, much less support it. Once union members hear more about EFCA and what it would do, solid majorities oppose it,” says Katie Packer, executive director of the Workforce Fairness Institute.

The poll, conducted by Public Opinion Strategies, found 66 percent of union households oppose changing the bargaining process in unionization and 77 percent of union households oppose a government arbitrator having the final say in determining contract terms – both of which the Employee Free Choice Act would do, according to the WFI.

Why in the face of such overwhelming public opposition we still face almost certain legislation that will make it far easier for unions to organize is disturbing. Such are the results of the sun, moon and stars lining up in what is called a "super-majority."

Friday, January 15, 2010

Obama and Organized Labor Agree To Exempt Union Health Plans from Cadillac Tax; EFCA Is Next

Under the heading of "how to pay for a trillion dollar health plan," there is the proposed "Cadillac tax," which will kick in for plans valued at $8,900 or more for individuals and $24,000 or more for families.

The operative word is "some," -- that is some individuals and some families will be paying more simply because they have an employer willing to pony up for excellent employee health care.

The New York Post reports today that, "Big Labor got some big love from President Obama and congressional Democrats yesterday after they agreed to exempt union workers from the whopping “Cadillac tax” on high-cost health-care plans until 2018."

"The sweetheart deal, hammered out behind closed doors, will save union employees at least $60 billion over the years involved, while others won't be as lucky -- they'll have to cough up almost $90 billion."

And, the gifts to organized labor which have been substantial are just beginning if the White House has its way.

The Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) is up next . . .

Town Hall reports that “Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is mapping out a process by which the Senate can get EFCA passed as quickly as possible so that opponents won’t have time to voice opposition. There is even talk of including it in the next ‘jobs bill' which will be difficult for any politician, especially Democrats, to oppose.

But, from Peter List, we learn that not all hope is lost, but rather, hope rests in Massachusetts: "The Senate Special Election in Massachusetts next Tuesday is not going their way and, while the AFL-CIO sends its shock troops and the SEIU's attack ads and purple shirts flood the Bay state, GOP candidate Scott Brown's momentum seems to be gaining over his Democratic opponent Martha Coakley with Brown now leading Coakley. Even in her own polling, Martha Coakley's "bottom has fallen out."

"I have heard that in the last two days the bottom has fallen out of her poll numbers," says one well-connected Democratic strategist. In her own polling, Coakley is said to be around five points behind Republican Scott Brown. "If she's not six or eight ahead going into the election, all the intensity is on the other side in terms of turnout," the Democrat says. "So right now, she is destined to lose."

According to a Suffolk University poll, Brown is up by 4%.

How quickly has this race turned around?

In November, Coakley was beating Brown by 31 percentage points. Now, Brown is up by 4% -- a change of 35% in two months.

How important is this election to the nation?

Well, as one newscaster stated: "If Scott Brown wins next Tuesday...he will change the world of politics as we know it." This is what has union bosses so scared."

Indeed, but should Coakley pull it out in Massachusetts the Democratic "super-majority" in the Senate may well spell disaster for American business vis a vis the Employee Free Choice Act.

Advice: If you do not have a pre-emptive union counter-organizational plan in place, you should get moving. Now. Contact us at

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Guts. Hard to be courageous in the face of shareholders demanding ever more.

But some companies have it.

Google has it.

Google, owner of the most-used search engine in the world, says that it will end self-censorship of its product in China after attacks on e-mail accounts of human-rights activists. The company said it make close its offices in the country.

On principle, this company is willing to walk away from the largest Internet market in the world.

Kudos, Google. There should be more like you.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

"Why Work Isn't Working Anymore" Now Available As An E-Book

The book "Why Work Isn't Working Anymore - Tools to Transform Your Workplace As If People Mattered," which I wrote with Fritz Aldrine and published in 2004 is, alas, out of print. There are about 40 copies left, I'm told.

Now that the book is out of print, it is being offered as a protected PDF-download which you can put on your computer and read at your leisure. Go to and the select "The Book" on the list of options. You can order the book itself (until the last few copies are no more) or download the e-book.

At the end of the day, not much has changed in the big picture since Why Work Isn't Working Anymore was published, but a number of employers and managers who read it "got it" and I'm pleased and proud to say that many workplaces in the U.S. and around the world have been made better for it.

Have a great week!

Monday, January 11, 2010

"Labor Day" At The White House: Is The Fix In?

From the LaborUnionReport (Profile)

No, you did not read the title of this post wrong–it is not September.

However, today, union bosses across the DC spectrum are meeting with President Obama to discuss the so-called “Cadillac Tax” on health care benefits which union bosses oppose, as did as Candidate Obama at one time.

“John McCain calls these plans ‘Cadillac plans,” the Democratic presidential nominee said. “Now in some cases, it may be that a corporate CEO is getting too good a deal. But what if you’re a line worker making a good American car like the Cadillac? What if you’re one of the steelworkers who are working right here in Newport News, and you’ve given up wage increases in exchange for a better health care? Well, Senator McCain believes you should pay higher taxes too. The bottom line: the better your health care plan - the harder you’ve fought for your good benefits - the higher the taxes you’ll pay.”

Today’s meeting will be closed to the press and that leaves us wondering:

Is the Fix In?

Will Union Bosses Emerge Supporting Healthcare Reform (HCR) in exchange for the job-destroying Employee Free FORCED Choice Act?

Call us “cynical and jaded,” but our suspicions lead us to believe that, following today’s meeting, union bosses will be less vociferously opposed to the “Cadillac Tax” and may, in the coming days, appear more enthusiastic for the Senate version of HCR. Why?

We suspect that, behind closed doors, there will be a discussion that goes something like this:

Union bosses: Mr. President, we’re really p.o.’d about the Cadillac Tax…We wanted single-payer and you’ve backed down and now you’re going to tax our benefits.

BHO: Fellas, the Cadillac Tax is only temporary–once we get this deal done, in a couple of years, we’ll roll into full single payer. Besides, my poll numbers suck and if you really want to see EFCA before hell freezes over, you need to shut up and back this. Once we’ve got health care done, we can move on to EFCA and all the other stuff.

Union bosses: Oh. Okay. We’ll shut up…but you better get EFCA done.

BHO: You betcha!

If a swap for the Cadillac Tax in exchange for union bosses’ getting new members through EFCA does occur, it would be yet another example of how today’s union bosses are more interested in power than representing the interests of their members.

We’ll just have to wait and see.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Follow Crediblyconnect on Twitter . . .

If you want to receive more Karger updates and links to interesting current articles on employee and labor relations, you can follow me on Twitter at @jimkarger

Note the Twitter link at the top of

And speaking of interesting articles, here's one to print out and take home for the weekend . . .

Downsizing Case Studies - Do Severance Pay or Other Best Practices Provide Good Returns? You can find it at

Your comments are appreciated and I will publish the best via Twitter.

Very best for the weekend.



Thursday, January 07, 2010

"Pure Michigan" - A Contradiction In Terms?


"Pure Michigan" as they call it in their promotional ads, the place you should relocate your business.

Michigan, as in . . .

- The State with the highest unemployment rate in the United States - 14.7%

- The State with two of the most dangerous cities in America (Detroit ranks third and Flint ranks sixth.)

- The State with the fourth highest rate of unionization, behind only Washington, Alaska, New York, and Hawaii.

Are they kidding?

Not a chance.

All the hype and promises of a "new" way of doing things aside, it appears clear the politicians in Michigan are still doing the same old things in the same old ways.

In an "in your face" sleight of hand, Michigan is no longer just forcing employees into unions but now forcing independent business people to join, too.

Can it be?

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that home health care workers, most of whom consider themselves independent business owners, are now considered "employees" of the newly founded "Michigan Home Based Child Care Council."

After it was clear the unions could not organize 40,000 home health care workers, if only because they are spread from one end of the State to the other, the United Auto Workers who don't many autoworkers left to represent, teamed up with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Union and petitioned to be the exclusive representative of all home health care providers. Their contention? Because these home health care workers receive a subsidy from the State of Michigan they are actually employed by the State of Michigan.

The relative handful of pro-union supporters showed up and voted. The rest didn't even understand what was happening to them until they found union dues being taken out of their subsidy checks from the State.

Net-net: $3.7 million never makes it to the intended recipients, but ends up in the coffers of Big Labor. Why? Michigan is not a "right to work" State, so not only are these "employees" represented by a union they don't know or want, their "representatives" have signed a contract that requires all of them to be union members and, moreover, to have union dues taken directly from their subsidy checks.

How convenient.

And if that wasn't enough, to add insult to injury the Michigan Economic Development Corporation has given a "for-profit" union subsidiary $2 million (in the form of a tax credit) to provide "administrative services" for this union and other local labor organizations in Michigan.

But it is not over. The rationale used by the union to get that tax credit? High labor costs in Michigan.

There is no shame and you can't make this stuff up. It is too bizarre. No one would believe it.

But, then again as they say, this is "Pure Michigan."


Welcome to 2010 with hopes it is a great year for you and your company.

Some updates . . .

- You should have received the first Karger calendar in 8 years by now. If you haven't and you want one, please e-mail me at

- For those of you who have inquired as to how, when and where the calendar was made, go to You will find "The Making of the Calendar" there.

- I will be rolling my EFCA (Employee Free Choice Act) blog into this blog in the next few weeks. EFCA is coming down to the wire now and I want all readers up to date on what will be the most important (and damaging) labor legislation in the last 50 years or more.

- A new focus this year will be executive and employee fitness. More here soon on that, and in the meantime check out

Have a great week and weekend and we'll see you next week . . .

- Jim

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

I Can't Get No . . . Satisfaction

. . . and neither can most American employees.

Even those fortunate enough to have work when so many are jobless are becoming unhappier at work. Indeed, a new survey by the Conference Board finds only 45 percent of Americans are satisfied with their jobs and their work.

And, that is important because it is the lowest level recorded in 22 years of measurement. By way of contrast, when the first survey was conducted in 1987, most workers -- 61 percent -- said they were happy in their jobs.

Why? Why has employee satisfaction continued to degrade over the last 20 years?

Some reasons are obvious:

- Fewer workers consider their jobs to be interesting.

- Incomes have not kept up with inflation.

- The soaring cost of health insurance has eaten into take-home pay.

Other reasons are not so obvious but equally, if not more important, to include:

- Bosses that don't listen

- Bosses that don't care

- Bosses that don't share what they know

Do you see the common factor? The boss.

Indeed, only 51 percent of American workers are satisfied with their bosses, down from 55 percent in 2008 and 60 percent two decades ago.

This is something Fritz Aldrine and I hammered on several years ago when we wrote the book, "Why Work Isn't Working Anymore -- Tools To Transform Your Workplace As If People Mattered."

The message remains the same. The answers remain the same.

Happy employees are more productive. Reciprocally, unhappy employees are less productive and 8 of 10 American employees today say they will look for a new job when the economy turns around. How's that for being unhappy?

So, if you didn't read our book, you should. I am making it available soon at in PDF format so you can put it on your computer, your laptop, Kindle or I-Phone.

I will announce the e-book availability here.

Here's to a happier 2010 for you and all employees in America.