A coalition of retailers, shopping center owners and developers warned Thursday of major job losses if Congress passes a bill that would make it easier for workers to join a union.
But President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden reiterated their support for the legislation that has become a political flash point pitting organized labor against the business community during the worst U.S. recession in decades.
“As we confront this crisis and work to provide health care to every American, rebuild our nation’s infrastructure, move toward a clean energy economy and pass the Employee Free Choice Act, I want you to know that you will always have a seat at the table,” Obama said in a videotape message played Tuesday at the opening session of AFL-CIO annual meeting in Miami Beach.
Obama was a co-sponsor of the bill when he was in the Senate.
The Alliance to Save Main Street Jobs, which includes the Retail Industry Leaders Association and the International Council of Shopping Centers, commissioned a study that projects job losses of as much as 600,000 in 2010 if 1.5 million union jobs are created.
The author of the study, economist Anne Layne-Farrar, said companies react to higher labor costs associated with unionization by relocating, sourcing more overseas, laying off workers and passing on price increases to consumers. The report contends that every 3 percentage points gained in union membership would result in a 1 percentage point rise in the unemployment rate in the following year. The unemployment rate rose to 7.6 percent in January and is expected to spike again in February.
The Employee Free Choice Act would allow a majority of workers who sign a card in support of a union to automatically certify it and would stiffen penalties against employers that illegally fire or discriminate against workers for union organizing. It would permit employers and employees to refer bargaining to mediation and, if necessary, binding arbitration should they be unable to agree on a first contract within 90 days. A federal arbitrator would then establish a two-year contract.
Business opponents said the proposal would eliminate management’s ability to argue against unionization by abolishing secret-ballot elections. Executives also oppose the provision that gives control of a contract to a third-party arbitrator in the event of an impasse.
In a speech at the AFL-CIO meeting on Thursday, Biden said: “The legal industry spends hundreds of millions of dollars exclusively in an effort to block workers from pursuing their legal rights, from unions being able to get collective bargaining agreements.”
EXCLUSIVE: @tomford is opening its first-ever beauty store. The boutique, which opens November 20 in London’s Covent Gardens, was designed with the over-the-top glam Ford is known for. Read the full story on WWD.com, link in bio. #wwdbeauty #wwdnews (📷: Simon Wagner) #TomFordBeauty
New York-based DJ @harleyvnewton threw a party to celebrate the holiday collection of her dress and pajama line @hvn at the Ladurée Beverly Hills. It Girls @katebosworth, @rashidajones and more joined in on the fun, which included cocktails, croque monsieur sandwiches and a photo booth. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com)
For the holidays, @Burberry partnered with 20-year-old artist @blondeymccoy on a series of three outdoor murals in downtown Manhattan. The murals are McCoy’s interpretation of a Christmas eve party, the idea of charity and the spirit of family. His third mural, pictured here, is the most personal. The image depicts McCoy’s grandparents and father in London’s Trafalgar Square in the Seventies. “My work often features lots of sentimental objects.” #wwdeye
For spring 2018, designers applied bold colors and cartoonish motifs on everything from sneakers and belts to key chains. See all the top men’s accessories trends on WWD.com. #wwdtrends (📷: George Chinsee; Prop Styling by @rnasti; Market Editor: @luiscampuzano)
The @dior-sponsored @guggenheim international gala pre-party has a history of drawing cool-girl musical acts to serenade the crowd –– and last night was no exception. @haimtheband performed songs both new and old, and lured a star-studded audience with the likes of Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara, Mamoudou Athie and more. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
In a partnership between the @metopera and the @englishnationalopera, “Marnie” was born. The opera, with costumes sponsored by @mrporterlive, is an adaptation of the 1961 thriller by Winston Graham. Arianne Phillips, who created the costumes, is no rookie: She’s styled Madonna for her tours and created costumes for a myriad of films in the past. Read WWD’s interview with Phillips, where she talks about her inspiration for the opera’s costumes on WWD.com #wwdfashion
@barneysnyc took a different approach to their holiday windows this year. Instead of Christmas decor, Barneys tapped @thehaasbrothers to tell a story of positivity, gratitude and inclusivity via heartwarming silliness and humor. “It’s about kids and it’s about coming together and being family and loving each other,” said Simon Haas. #wwdfashion (📷: @joshuascottphoto)
Beauty influencer @kandeejohnson makes her foray into hair care with a collaboration with @ogx_beauty — making it the first time that OGX has teamed up for a product creation. The collab includes shampoos and conditioners in three scents. At 39 and a mom, Johnson is a different profile than the emerging social media stars, but is considered one of the pioneers of the digital beauty influencer world. Read WWD’s interview with her on wwd.com, including the strangest beauty product she’s ever tried #wwdbeauty