Archive for the organizing Category

“Beyond the Labor Board.”

Posted in Commentary, News, NLRB, organizing on January 8, 2008 by onebigunion


From The Nation:

This past September, the National Labor Relations Board issued a startling sixty-one decisions in a legal blitzkrieg on working Americans. The NLRB has been led by a pro-business majority of Bush appointees since 2002. Its bias was never more apparent than during this latest round of decisions, labeled a “September massacre” by the AFL-CIO. One ruling makes it harder to join a union through majority sign-up procedures–the preferred organizing method for many unions that hold out little hope for fair and timely NLRB elections–while another allows employers to decertify existing unions using the very same forms of majority recognition now denied to union organizers. Other rulings facilitate employer discrimination against union supporters and limit remedies available to workers illegally fired for engaging in union activity. Canned for demanding a voice at the workplace? No back pay if you choose to walk a picket line instead of looking for a new job!

According to Jon Hiatt, general counsel for the AFL-CIO, “The Bush board has so changed the law, in terms of established precedent, that it’s now virtually impossible for workers to get a fair shake, either in the unfair labor practices arena or the elections arena.” Instead, the AFL-CIO is demanding the board be “shut down” until less partisan appointments are made to three recently vacated posts on the five-member board.

Bush’s labor board may indeed be the worst in history, and a temporary shutdown couldn’t be a bad thing. But it wouldn’t address the deeper problems plaguing the labor movement, which date back at least to 1947, when the Taft-Hartley Act greatly curtailed workers’ ability to strike and otherwise pressure employers to recognize unions. Since then, Democratic labor board majorities have had little positive effect on organizing. Private-sector union membership dropped steadily and by more than half between 1977 and 2000, while the two parties spent equal time in the White House. The Reagan years were particularly dismal, but labor didn’t exactly thrive under the Carter and Clinton boards. Today less than 8 percent of private-sector workers belong to a union…

Read the rest here.  Worth your time.