June 22, 2003
The Greens—Labor Law reforms

(See this post for background on this series.)

…Repeal Repressive Labor Laws: Repeal the Taft-Hartley Act, the Landrum-Griffin Act, the Hatch Act, and state "Right-To-Work" laws which have crippled labor's ability to organize by outlawing or severely restricting labor's basic organizing tools: strikes, boycotts, pickets, and political action.

The Taft-Hartley, Landrum-Griffin Act, Hatch Act, and Right-to-Work Laws are hardly the oppressive, Draconian regulations Big Labor would have us believe; they simply prevent labor from exercising excessive control over the rest of the country. Taft-Hartley prevents unions from sympathetic strikes (in Europe, unions will often go on strike to support another striking union, even if there is no relation between the two unions), and requires workers to vote in a union by majority vote; Landrum-Griffin requires unions to disclose their financial affairs (and prevents Communist Party members from holding union leadership positions); Hatch prevents government employees from participating in political affairs while at work, and Right-to-Work laws prevent unions from compelling employees to join as a condition of employment.

A Workers' Bill of Rights: Enact a set of legally enforceable civil rights, independent of collective bargaining, which (1) extends the Bill of Rights protections of free speech, association, and assembly into all workplaces, (2) establishes workers' rights to living wages, portable pensions, information about chemicals used, report labor and environmental violations, refuse unsafe work, and participate in enterprise governance, and (3) establishes workers' rights to freedom from discharge at will, employer search and seizure in the workplace, sexual harassment, and unequal pay for work of comparable worth.

Much of this is covered under previous posts, so I will not revisit it again.

Expand Worker' Rights to Organize and Enjoy Free Time:
·Majority Card-Check Recognition of Unions
·Strong and Speedy Penalties for Employers Who Break Labor Laws
·Ban Striker Replacements
·Triple Back Pay for Illegally Locked-Out Workers
·Unemployment Compensation for Striking and Locked-Out Workers
·Binding Contract Arbitration at Union Request
·Full Rights for Farmworkers, Public Employees, and "Workfare" Workers under the Fair Labor Standards Act
·Ban Prison Slave Labor: End the use of US prisoners to produce goods and services for sale to the public.
·Double-Time Pay for All Overtime
·Prohibit Mandatory Overtime
·6 Weeks Paid Vacation Annually in addition to Federal Holidays
·1 Year Paid Educational Leave for Every 7 Years Worked
·1 Year Parental Leave for Each Child Born with No Loss of Seniority
·Right to Work Short Hours: No discrimination in pay and promotion against workers who choose to work short hours.

A few thoughts on these:

Replacement workers would not be available during a strike, because we'd have full employment, right?

Striking workers are not unemployed, therefore they are not entitled to unemployment benefits.

Items produced by UNICOR (Federal Prison Industries) are not available to the public. Further, inmates who work for UNICOR are learning a marketable skill AND get paid (a nominal fee, but still it's payment). It's hardly "slave labor".

Six weeks of paid leave (in addition to federal holidays) is excessive. Four weeks is more realistic. Perhaps allow an additional two weeks of UNPAID leave.

Workers who choose to work fewer hours are known as part-time workers; they do not receive the same benefits and considerations as full-time employees. If they want the benefits, they need to work full-time.

posted on June 22, 2003 04:59 PM


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