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  1. #1
    Taking A Stand!!!

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    Default After Janus, How to Tilt the Balance of Power Back to Workers

    I will try to make sure that all four parts of this series are posted. Somehow I missed the first part posted on a site a few days ago so here it is.

    This is the first of a four-part series on rebuilding labor after the Supreme Court's Janus ruling. You can read the second part here. All four pieces, as well as an exclusive interview with Bernie Sanders on the future of the labor movement, are available in the August issue of In These Times magazine.


    More than once during the ongoing crisis of organized labor in the United States, In These Times has wondered whether this event or that is the nail in labor’s coffin. Today, in the wake of the Supreme Court’s June 27 Janus v. AFSCME decision, we hear clods of earth hitting the lid. With private-sector union membership at an all-time low of 7 percent, Janus threatens labor’s last bastion: the 34-percent-unionized public sector

    Many unions are wisely channeling resources into deep member organizing, but a strong bedrock of legal protections for organized labor sure would help. As labor historian Nelson Lichtenstein wrote for In These Times’ 40th anniversary anthology, “Even the most creative forms of rank-and-file militancy could but rarely triumph against a free market-oriented neoliberal legal and financial regime.” The International Trade Union Confederation, in its annual workers’ rights assessment, routinely groups the U.S. with Iraq, Honduras and other countries where “fundamental rights [are] under continuous threat.”

    The labor and employment protections that do exist have been eroded for decades, often on the Democrats’ watch. But unions and workers weary of broken promises from corporate-captured legislators may find a glimmer of hope in the current rise of progressive Democrats. To those candidates and legislators looking for strong pro-labor proposals, we invited labor experts to offer four concrete policies to bolster workers’ rights. You can find the first proposal, by Aaron Tang, below, and the rest on InTheseTimes.com over the course of the week.

    We offer these with one caveat: Legislative change won’t happen without a groundswell of worker action, rooted in the conviction that we do not shed our rights when we clock in to work.
    After Janus, How to Tilt the Balance of Power Back to Workers

  2. #2
    Taking A Stand!!!

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    Default Re: After Janus, How to Tilt the Balance of Power Back to Workers

    How To End the Tyranny of the Nonunion Workplace Part 2

    Counteracting Janus involves more than state-based legislative solutions that would regain something akin to an agency shop. The larger challenge is responding to the concentrated assault on unions and working people under way for decades. Under Trump, the alleged friend of the (white) working person, this assault has increased in tempo, from his appointment of an anti-labor National Labor Relations Board to his executive orders undermining federal employees.

    In the 21st century, we need a different sort of union movement: one that actively disrupts the strategy of corporate America and its right-wing populist allies. We must flip the script. In the face of anti-union right-to-work laws and their ilk, organized labor needs to become the public champion of rights at work laws. Such laws protect all workers (not just those in unions). Those rights could include full freedom of association and freedom of speech while at work, and, most centrally, “just cause” provisions against unfair firings.

    Workers live in immense fear of being fired. In a nonunion environment, most believe that the situation is hopeless. Beginning in the late 1970s, within the employment law community (and among some trade unionists), there was an increase in interest in how best to challenge unjust dismissals in nonunion environments. In 1977, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled in Fortune v. National Cash Register that there were circumstances in which such dismissals could be litigated and, in fact, overturned. But further litigation largely failed as courts upheld the almost insurmountable status of “at-will” employment, which allows bosses to fire workers without warning for almost any reason.
    How To End the Tyranny of the Nonunion Workplace

  3. #3
    Taking A Stand!!!

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    Default Re: After Janus, How to Tilt the Balance of Power Back to Workers

    It's Time for Unions To Let Go of Exclusive Representation Part 3


    This is the third of a four-part series on rebuilding labor after the Supreme Court's Janus ruling. You can read the first part here, and the second here, and and the fourth here. All four pieces, as well as an exclusive interview with Bernie Sanders on the future of the labor movement, are featured in the August issue of In These Times magazine.

    After Janus, public-sector labor law will need restructuring. Instead of trying to preserve as much as possible of a broken system, why not start experimenting with alternatives? Ever since the 1950s, organized labor has struggled to defend and tweak the system of “exclusive representation” established in the National Labor Relations Act of 1935. We believe it is time to step back, change course and scrap exclusive representation in favor of a system that would let workers join their union of choice. Such a move could also solve the free-rider problem posed by Janus, which held only that workers can’t be required to fund a particular union.

    Under exclusive representation, jobs are grouped into various bargaining units. If a majority of workers in a particular unit want a union, then that union becomes the “exclusive” bargaining representative of all workers in the unit. Should some of the workers become dissatisfied and wish to join another union, they must file for a decertification election, in which “no union” is one ballot option. In the culture of American unionism, this move is widely regarded as scabbing, and proponents of an alternative union risk ostracism.

    When exclusive representation was first proposed back in the 1930s, the ACLU, the NAACP and labor radicals condemned it. They feared it would make unions more unresponsive, exclusionary and conservative, and they were right. Exclusive representation has allowed union officials to sign concessionary contracts with little fear of competition from more militant unions. Majority-white unions can ignore the interests of workers of color, and majority-male unions those of women workers. (This exclusionary tendency was subsequently limited by law, but only where union discrimination could be proven—a difficult proposition now that overtly racist and sexist statements are infrequent.) Exclusive representation also allows lazy union officials to sit back and collect their salaries without doing much for workers. Union democracy legislation, enacted in 1959 over strenuous opposition from organized labor, ameliorated the problems of unresponsiveness and conservatism, but the law left enough loopholes that the overwhelming majority of unions continue to operate as one-party bureaucracies.

  4. #4
    Taking A Stand!!!

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    Default Re: After Janus, How to Tilt the Balance of Power Back to Workers

    Nonunion Workers Can Save Unions. We Just Need to Reimagine How We Collect Dues.
    It should have been a moment of triumph. The writers at DNAinfo and the Gothamist network had voted to form a union. But a few days later, on Nov. 2, 2017, their sullen jerk of a CEO decided to fold operations in perfectly legal retaliation.

    Our peculiar labor relations system bases whether or not you are protected by a union contract on whether you can survive a campaign of threats, harassment and outright lies to prevail in a winner-take-all vote. Even then, a union contract can still be voided by a crybaby boss picking up his marbles and offshoring, subcontracting or “shutting down” operations entirely. A workers’ rights system that can be so baldly circumvented by billionaires and soulless corporations is clearly and inalterably broken.

    Many of the best ideas currently on the table for labor law reform transcend workplace-based contract unionism. We could revive the New Deal model of wage boards, which dictate minimum standards for all companies in an industry. Even, or perhaps especially, if they are dominated by corporate interests, they would provide unions with a campaign target and all kinds of organizing opportunities to gain new associate or “at-large” members.
    Nonunion Workers Can Save Unions. We Just Need to Reimagine How We Collect Dues.

  5. #5
    I Am Rocking Now

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    Default Re: After Janus, How to Tilt the Balance of Power Back to Workers

    So much for the labor movement’s funeral

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opini...=.27b07cfcdd06

    Something funny happened on the way to the labor movement’s funeral.

    When Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. and his antilabor colleagues on the Supreme Court handed down the Janus v. AFSCME decision last June, unions braced for the worst. The American Federation of Teachers expected it might lose 30 percent of its revenue after the high court gave public-sector workers the right to be free riders, benefiting from union representation but paying nothing.

    Instead, the 1.7 million-member union added 88,500 members since Janus — more than offsetting the 84,000 “agency-fee payers” it lost because of the Supreme Court ruling. And the union has had a burst of energy. There has been a surge of high-profile strikes by teachers’ unions in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Arizona, Los Angeles and elsewhere. Rallies, pickets and local campaigns mushroomed by the hundreds. The union has tallied 11 organizing wins since Janus, tripled its “member engagement” budget from 2014 and nearly doubled the number of voters it contacted in 2018.

    Labor leaders ought to thank Alito — and send chocolates to the Koch brothers for bankrolling the anti-union court case. Their brazen assault, combined with President Trump’s hostility toward labor, has generated a backlash, invigorating public-sector unions and making a case for the broader labor movement to return to its roots and embrace a more militant style.

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