GOP Hopes to Take Away Americans' Right to Collective Bargaining
Posted in the Minneapolis Forum
#1 Jul 15, 2013
The right to collective bargaining in the workplace is a human right -- just as fundamental as the right to free speech or the right to vote.
It is enshrined in the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights that was adopted in 1948.
Three quarters of a century ago, our country passed labor laws that gave every worker the right to organize a union in their workplace to negotiate wages and working conditions with their employers.
When the largest percentage of private sector workers were in unions in the 1950's, the economy grew and the gap between high and low income Americans dramatically dropped in what economist Paul Krugman calls the "Great Compression."
Collective bargaining and growth of the labor movement were the principal engines that led to the creation of the American middle class -- the growth of wages, the 40-hour work week, and the weekend.
The reason collective bargaining is so fundamental should be obvious. Markets are good at allocating many resources in an economy. But left to their own devices they do a terrible job distributing the fruits of production among the people who create products and services.
Economic history shows irrefutably that without collective bargaining, the rich get richer and everyone else gets poorer. Unless workers have the right to bargain as a group over wages and working conditions, employers have every incentive to hire workers who will work for the lowest possible wage in the worst possible conditions. And in a globalized economy with literally billions of increasingly skilled workers in developing countries, there is always someone who is willing to do the same job for less.
In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2012 union members had salaries that were -- on the average -- 20 percent higher than their non-union counterparts.
The only way to protect middle class incomes in the United States is to protect the precious right of collective bargaining and to extend it to most Americans. In fact, we would all be much better off if every worker in every place of employment could exercise their right to collective bargaining -- the same way we are all better off when everyone has the right to vote.
But for over three decades Wall Street and the largest corporations have waged an incessant war to effectively take away our ability to collectively bargain. The percentage of private sector jobs covered by collective bargaining agreements has shrunk from 35 percent in the 1950's when middle class wages were on the increase, to only 6.6 percent in 2012.
#2 Jul 15, 2013
Why don't you cut-and-paste zombies go start your own site? We like people who can think for themselves.
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