Posted on August 1, 2014 by dsalaborblogmoderator
by Bruce Vail
Cong. Keith Ellison
On Wednesday, a handful of Democratic Party lawmakers introduced a bill to turn the slogan “Labor Rights are Civil Rights” into the law of the land. While admitting the proposed legislation has little chance of passage in the current anti-labor environment, supporters say they hope shifting political winds may favor the bill sometime in the future.
A civil right is any right enshrined in the Constitution or legislation, such as freedom of assembly or freedom of the press. The new measure would affirm that labor rights are equally fundamental.
Titled the “Employee Empowerment Act,” the bill is short and simple. It would add a single paragraph to the 1935 National Labor Relations Act giving workers the right to sue employers in federal court for labor law violations, in the same way that individuals are allowed to bring lawsuits under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Under current law, workers must bring such complaints to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which is often criticized for being very slow to act and offering wronged workers little in the way of compensation.
Filed under: Organizing, Politics | Tagged: Wagner Act, NLRB, Employee Empowerment Act | Leave a comment »
Posted on July 30, 2014 by dsalaborblogmoderator
by Laura Clawson
In a move that could have far-reaching implications for franchised businesses and low-wage workers, the National Labor Relations Board’s general counsel said Tuesday that McDonald’s would be treated as a joint employer along with franchisees in 43 unfair labor practices cases. Setting this precedent would make it harder for the company to deny responsibility for wage theft and other abuses—like the cases that raised this question in the first place, with workers alleging they were fired in retaliation for participating in legally protected strikes. McDonald’s, like other franchise businesses, has traditionally claimed that it has nothing to do with labor practices in its restaurants, but the tight control the company exerts over every aspect of management of its franchisee-owned restaurants points to a different conclusion:
Filed under: Low wage workers, Organizing | Tagged: fast food workers, franchises, McDonalds, NLRB | 1 Comment »
Posted on July 18, 2014 by dsalaborblogmoderator
by Matt Bruenig
Conservatives I follow on Twitter have gotten really perturbed by a recent slate of National Labor Relations Board decisions. In particular, they seem scandalized by the fact that you can’t automatically fire someone just because they said a cuss word. Even Radley “hate the cops, love the boss” Balko managed to get himself worked up about it a couple of weeks ago. Normally, I’d let this sort of thing pass, but with economic news being slow right now, I thought it might be helpful to explain why these decisions make perfect sense.
Filed under: Busting the union busters, Organizing | Tagged: concerted action, cursing, NLRA, NLRB | 1 Comment »
Posted on May 8, 2014 by dsalaborblogmoderator
by Chaz Bolte
The NLRB has issued a “Notice and Invitation to File Briefs” [PDF] in the Purple Communications, Inc. case which could overturn the precedent concerning organizing activities on company email systems set by the board’s ruling in the Register-Guard case during the Bush Administration.
Using the Register-Guard decision as precedent, companies can currently enforce policies which prohibit company email from being used for anything but business purposes. But the current NLRB appears interested in reversing that decision partially due to the increased importance of email in organizing since the Bush era. Another goal is to align the ruling with other recent rulings that helped streamline the union election process. Continue reading
Filed under: Organizing | Tagged: Labor, NLRB, Organizing, purple communications, register-guard, union elections, union organizing | 1 Comment »
Posted on May 5, 2014 by dsalaborblogmoderator
by Wade Rathke
(April 22) Politicians and the in-plant anti-union committee at Volkswagen in Chattanooga were both chortling and celebrating the announcement that the UAW had withdrawn its election objections before the NLRB hearing on the issues raised in its recent, narrow defeat. They are laughing too soon. They are actually totally misreading the organizing tactics, and interpreting a tactical withdrawal as a concession, rather than the more accurate understanding that this is a huge signal from the UAW that they are in fact deepening their commitment to keeping the campaign alive for a second shot at an election.
There are never any future guarantees in organizing about when the time might be right to go another round, but the UAW at the crossroads faced two choices. One was to fully engage on the legal struggle around their objections and run the clock out for years in back-and-forth appeals. This is usually the “long game” after an election defeat where basically the union tries to save face institutionally and to maintain other organizing efforts by giving organizers and leaders’ talking points framed on the notion that there’s still a heartbeat, that justice will be done, and hope is a plan. It’s a sad organizing strategy since even miraculously winning a second election after years would have tended to alienate the workforce, making a better result difficult. Continue reading
Filed under: Organizing | Tagged: Chattanooga, NLRB, UAW, VW | Leave a comment »
Posted on April 21, 2014 by dsalaborblogmoderator
by Laura Clawson
The UAW is giving up its appeal of February’s union representation election at a Chattanooga, Tennessee, Volkswagen plant. The union had subpoenaed Republican officials like Gov. Bill Haslam and Sen. Bob Corker, around whose threats of dire consequences if workers unionized the appeal to the National Labor Relations Board had centered, seeking information on those threats. But, unsurprisingly, the same people who threatened workers over a union vote weren’t interested in participating in a fair appeals process, a process that could drag on almost indefinitely: Continue reading
Filed under: Organizing | Tagged: Chattanooga, NLRB, UAW, VW | 2 Comments »