Strengthening collective bargaining

June 23rd, 2015 at 9:56 am

A few ideas over at PostEverything. One colleague already tells me I may be thinking too incrementally and what’s needed is a major shift in the power structure. I don’t disagree, though we’d be hard pressed–perhaps more than I admit in the piece–to even get these ideas implemented. So I’m all for simultaneously playing the inside and outside games.

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5 comments in reply to "Strengthening collective bargaining"

  1. Sandwichman says:

    Nothing here about “members-only” or minority unionism? The idea has been touted by Richard Freeman, Catherine Fisk and Thomas Geoghegan, in addition to the book by Charles Morris, The Blue Eagle at Work. It seems to me that without that approach, proposals are of the “if only” variety. And “if only” ain’t going to happen.

    Surely if you have a critique of those proposals, that would be welcome. But to gloss over them as if they didn’t exist is not a constructive criticism.


    • Jared Bernstein says:

      Wouldn’t that take a federal law change (unless employer was willing to go along)? If so, I’m trying to avoid Congress here as that door is closed for now in this space.


  2. Smith says:

    Avoiding Congress destroys any hope of restoring labor power. If one foregoes discussion of proposals the current Congress wouldn’t pass, the country is dragged constantly to the right by Republicans who do just the opposite. The strong anti union campaign in the midwest, most notable in Wisconsin, but spreading to of all places Michigan, didn’t begin by conceding defeat to entrenched interests. The long war to reverse the New Deal won a major victory in passing Taft-Hartley as early as 1948. The effects of that law took decades to silently chip away at the gains won in the 1930s and 1940s and halt labor’s momentum that continued into the 1950s and 1960s.
    “Right to work”, which is really “no union contract fee” seems like the stupidest thing for union leaders to fight for unless they just want the increased dues to support themselves.
    No one is going to support or vote for a union if the union can’t even protect a worker’s job from disappearing. Business managers constantly outsmart the union leaders.
    Also, no mention of FLSA should pass without at least discussing the blatant way business cheat by making office workers (who are the new factory workers) “managers” and “professionals” and thus “exempt”. Of course tech workers in the mid 1990’s got there own special exemption because it was so obvious they were like factory workers.
    I would second the comment citing Thomas Geoghegan, I’m as yet unfamiliar with the others.


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