Opinion: No more union destruction. It’s time for businesses to give their employees what they deserve.

There is good reason to believe that workers’ organizing momentum will continue.trade union election papers Already 57% in the first six months of this fiscal year). Frontline workers are asserting their worth after putting their health at risk during a pandemic that lasts more than two years as corporate profits and CEO salaries continue to soar. They see unions and collective bargaining as the key to getting a living wage, a stable schedule, and a secure job. And they began to use the leverage provided by a tight labor market to build the power and influence needed to reverse harmful policies and economic trends.
Wage suppression, growing income inequality, and racial and gender pay gaps have characterized the US labor market for decades. Disappearing benefits, unbearably long hours, discriminatory or unsafe workplace consequences Policy choices and unequal power which enabled strong corporate opposition erosion bond density It has decreased by more than half in the last 40 years. From corporate-led global trade rules that lower wages while protecting profits, to weaker labor laws that stipulate workers’ rights on paper but don’t punish employers for breaking them, failed policies undermine workers’ bargaining power and create jobs across the economy. lowers the quality of .

But now employers and policy makers need to be vigilant as workers pave the way to better jobs and a more equitable economy. Policy makers should better protect workers’ union rights, and employers should start respecting workers’ rights to participate in union elections without interference or coercion.

Labor Law Reform

Trade unions are one of the most effective mechanisms available to address massive economic inequality. Congress should adopt labor law reforms to better protect workers’ right to organize. widely popular The Protection of the Right to Organize (PRO) Act. among other things, pro law It will impose the first severe monetary penalties against employers who retaliate against unionized workers.

The PRO Act also uses arbitration and binding arbitration to create procedures for new unions and employers to reach initial contractual agreements in a timely manner. This is important because existing weak laws do not prevent employers from refusing to bargain with newly formed unions. Sometimes the process is delayed and workers are denied contracts for years.

Similarly, it is overdue for lawmakers to end racism by extending full union and collective bargaining rights to everyone. excluding occupations Included in labor laws since the 1930s, millions of public sector, agricultural and domestic workers are today unprotected in many states.

Congress must also provide adequate funding for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to enforce labor laws. Workers organizing unions depend on the NLRB’s timely response to allegations of employer violations or requests to schedule union elections. However, fixed funding since 2014 has been interpreted as an effective funding cut of 20% when inflation is taken into account, and the agency has challenged its ability to catch up with a 30%+ cut in its workforce.

meet the workers at the negotiating table

Many American workers say want a union, but there are too few. Right now, workers who have won recent trade union elections are inviting their employers to meet on an equal footing and start a trade union contract. Rather than raising legal issues and refusing to meet, employers should consider how collective bargaining with employees (and the clients, clients, or patients they serve) who are experts in their work can help improve their business.
To give a particularly heartbreaking example: A recent study found that in the first year of a pandemic, workers union nursing home Workers who work in non-unionized facilities are less likely to contract COVID-19. Meanwhile, the study found that nursing home residents who joined a union were less likely to die from COVID-19 than residents living in non-union nursing homes.

Unions are highly correlated with safer conditions because they give workers the ability to have a voice in setting workplace policies and engage management in addressing concerns without fear of retaliation. At best, collective bargaining on a variety of topics, from training to production quotas, staff, shift times, schedules, rest, protective equipment, etc., can lead to contracts that result in better working conditions and better customer, client or patient outcomes at best possible conditions. can.

Commitment to Race and Gender Equality

The black-led multiracial committee that led the organizing movement in Amazon warehouses and the young female baristas who led to groundbreaking organizational victories at Starbucks are changing the popular face of the labor movement in powerful and promising ways.

Two-thirds of union members Women and/or workers of color. Trade unions improve wages and benefits for all workers (not just unionized workers) and close racial and gender pay gaps, helping to offset the disparate consequences of professional segregation and discrimination in the labor market.

In contrast, many companies’ diversity and inclusion efforts are ineffective. This is mainly because of the failure to address fundamental imbalances of power and the inability of affected employees to have a voice in policy-making. A union can help. Bargaining tables give employers the opportunity to hear workers’ honest assessments of issues and write contractual language that reflects their shared commitment to equity goals. In any company, the transparency and consistency of union contracts that determine wages, scheduled increases and promotions processes help prevent forms of discriminatory bias that disadvantage women and workers of color.

Above all, employers should view this as a moment to fulfill their legal obligations to learn from workers, to abandon wasteful and harmful union-destroying operations, and to negotiate contractual agreements with newly formed unions.

Success in unionizing workers continues to require special solidarity, persistence and public support. This is a moment of opportunity for all of us. Anyone ready to begin undoing the worst economic inequality America has seen in nearly a century can now choose to join and support unionizing workers.


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