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Trade Unions and Labor
Corporate America has never accepted labor unions. Since the organizing drives of the 1930s organized workers in over 40% of factory occupations, Big Business has been on an anti-labor offensive. With the passage of the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947, corporations succeeded in crippling labor's ability to organize by outlawing or severely restricting labor's basic organizing tools: strikes, boycotts, and pickets.
The Taft-Hartley amendments to the National Labor Relations Act of 1935:
The major result of the Taft-Hartley Act was to divert unions from organizing to cautious administration of contracts so the company could not sue the union for violating the contract. Unions began devoting most of their resources to handling grievances through "proper channels" and defending themselves from lawsuits by corporations with far more resources to go to court.
The Landrum-Griffith Act of 1959 tightened up the prohibitions on secondary boycotts and organizational picketing and enabled scabs to vote in union certification or decertification elections. This latter measure encouraged employers to break strikes and unions by hiring scabs during strikes and then having the scabs call union certification or decertification elections.
The Taft-Hartley Act quickly ground union organizing to a halt. Union membership peaked at 35% of the US workforce in 1955 when the AFL and CIO merged. With the recession of the early 1970s, Big Business launched a campaign to rollback union membership. With Democrats controlling the White House... organized labor pushed a Labor Law Reform Bill in 1997 that would have speeded up union certification elections and unfair labor practice decisions by the National Labor Relations Board, certified union recognition if 55% of a bargaining unit signed authorization cards, given union organizers greater access to employer premises, awarded back pay at time and a half for workers discharged illegally for union activity, and provided monetary penalties for employers who refused to bargain. It was a modest reform bill which did not touch Taft-Hartley's "right-to-work," secondary boycott, and injunction provisions. But the Democrats didn't even get it out of committee for floor votes.
Employers then went on government-backed offensive against unions and workers' rights generally that is now into its third decade. The right to organize unions and bargain freely has been destroyed in the US. Appointments to the National Labor Relations Board and the courts have tilted the field of labor-management relations sharply toward management. Employers now violate labor laws with impunity to defeat union organizing drives and bust existing unions because the adjudication takes years and the sanctions are minimal. Today, nearly 1 in 10 workers involved in union organizing drives is illegally fired. The proportion of the workforce in unions has declined to 14% today, and less than 10% in the private sector. Consequently, the average worker's wage has declined 15% in the last 25 years.
Taken from: http://www.greenparty.org/program/labor.html<% include "/var/www/vhosts/newyouth.com/httpdocs/yfis-foot.asp"; %>