Worker voice, unions, and bargaining power

October 8th, 2015 at 8:06 am

Over at WaPo, and well worth reading the White House’s issue brief on these points. Solid research from the President’s CEA on why unions matter. You ask me, that’s a plus both on substance and political grounds. Also, their section on alternative forms of organizing provides interesting overview of potentially important new developments in this space.

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2 comments in reply to "Worker voice, unions, and bargaining power"

  1. Sandwichman says:

    What seems to me to be missing from your ideas about how to reverse union decline is what to do if the ideal i not achieved. Right to work laws are NOT going to be overturned anytime in the foreseeable future. Catherine Fisk, Thomas Geoghegan, Charles Morris and Richard Freeman are among those who have argued that members-only or minority unionism can be a step forward. If you disagree, it would be useful if you would present the counter argument.

  2. Don Chartier -- Founder, HourVoice says:

    At HourVoice, a Chicago startup, we’re building a transparency approach to improve workers’ bargaining power.

    We think that adding information to the market will make it more efficient, and encourage responsible employers. Workers will provide information about their working conditions by answering educational survey questions. In return, they can see similar data on other employers. This process helps them learn more about their rights, and helps them find better employers. These employers will have a greater choice of employees, and will be able to pick the more productive ones. They will become more profitable.

    Consumers could use this data in a “socially conscious” Yelp app. When picking a restaurant for dinner, they can easily see which one treats its employees better, and steer their spending accordingly. This would be another improvement in the market mechanism.

    As for unions, this data could be used to identify “hot” workplaces where workers are being mistreated and therefore receptive to an organizing message. HourVoice will also broker safe, opt-in contact with the workers.

    I’m all for policy changes that help low-wage workers. But while we’re waiting for Congress to achieve some sort of gridlock catharsis, let’s try something else.