They argue that the bill will make it easier for unions to organize workers. They contend that unions are the path to the middle class and that expanding union membership will raise wages and help boost the economy out of the recession. The official case for EFCA rests on the argument that greater union membership benefits the economy. Today, the highest rates of union membership are in the public sector and specifically in local government, which covers the heavily unionized occupations of police officers, firefighters, and teachers.
- Unauthorized (“wildcat”) strikes by the rank-and-file on the shop floor were prohibited, which took power from those on the bottom of the union and at the same time forced the labor leaders to police their dissident members or else be in violation of the law (e.g., Gross 1995, Chapter 1).
- But after 1877 American labor relations were the most violent in the Western world with the exception of Russia .
- Counterintuitively, research shows that unions do not make companies more likely to go bankrupt.
- Unions can raise income levels not just for their members, but for all of the workers in a region.
- Unions bargain workplace policies of promotions and secure workers based on seniority.
Jett Lauck, the only labor-oriented member of the Wagner group that had primarily responsibility for drafting the administration’s legislative proposal. However, as subsequent resistance to union involvement in the code authorities demonstrates, most of the corporate leaders who at first seemed willing to accept some degree of union involvement became highly opposed to unions. It is also clear additional reading that the most important labor leaders of the 1930s, Sidney Hillman of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers, John L. Lewis of the United Mine Workers, and William Green, president of the American Federation of Labor, spoke directly with several of the people involved in drafting the bill. The Seattle Union Record announces the beginning of the general strike, February 1919Leaders within the AFL were hopeful that this renewed harmony and success would continue after the war, but such was not to be the case.
Cons Of Unions
It isn’t possible to fix all of the problems with unions just by changing their policies. For instance, there will always be a tradeoff between paying workers more and keeping costs low for businesses. However, many of the problems with unions that people object to the most can likely be fixed without having to get rid of unions completely. For instance, individual cities and states have to decide whether they care more about having more jobs or better-paying jobs. They must also weigh whether cushy benefits packages for public workers will put a bigger strain on their budgets than underpaid people relying on government benefits. Higher wages aren’t the only cost businesses have to pay when their workers unionize.
What Companies Have Labor Unions?
Organized labor’s highest legislative priority is the misnamed Employee Free Choice Act . This legislation replaces traditional secret-ballot organizing elections with publicly signed cards, allowing union organizers to pressure and harass workers into joining a union. EFCA would also allow the government to impose contracts on newly organized workers and their employers. A labor union is an organization that engages in collective bargaining with an employer to protect workers’ economic status and working conditions. The right to form unions was established in 1935 by the National Labor Relations Act, also known as the Wagner Act.
Although there was no strong evidence that right-to-work laws impeded unionization in studies carried out through the late 1980s, more recent research suggests a modest decrease in unionization rates, but not in wages, during the first 40 years after Taft-Hartley . Whatever the facts may be, the important point is that both the corporate community and the liberal-labor alliance thought that these laws mattered greatly. The result was decades of legislative conflict over “Section 14b,” the clause that allows states to have right-to-work laws .
But Teagle and Swope obviously did not have the clout to bring about all the changes they wanted. At the moment when Wagner was making the requested changes, Roosevelt intervened in a conflict between the National Labor Board and the automobile industry over unionization that put an end to their concerns for the time being. As part of his decision to move jurisdiction over automobile companies to a separate labor board, he rejected the principle of majority rule. It seemed to be a clear concession to the du Ponts and General Motors, and it was a great disappointment to liberals and union leaders.
The Taft-Hartley Act also gave states the authority to enact “right-to-work” laws prohibiting mandatory agency shops and agency fees. In these states, a worker cannot be required to join a union in order to gain or keep employment, nor can they be required to pay any portion of union dues, such as agency fees. Instead workers in these states have the right to reject union representation and the corresponding union dues or agency fees. Within a year of the Taft-Hartley Act, 12 states passed right-to-work laws. Labour unions formed in the 19th century as a response to wage and time exploitation of workers and dangerous working conditions. Although many people take the 40-hour work week for granted, this standard was won through union efforts.