Thursday, May 31, 2012

All Labor Contracts – Good or Bad?

At this time some of labors best victories have occurred outside the protections of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Some labor organizations, like the National Domestic Workers Alliance or workers centers are achieving wins through activism without identifying as union at all. Farm workers have also had success by working, pressuring, and sometimes boycotting. This sounds a lot like the old IWW Wobblies, who would not engage in labor contracts, because like the Service Employees International Union’s contract which ties their hands and prevents them from doing a secondary boycotts. The NLRB, at this time, is a deterrent to labor rather than a help. If the employers have a way to quash an organizing campaign they do not care if they break the NLRB laws because the win versus the imposed fine is no deterrent to the corporations. The NLRB laws need to be rewritten or done away with. Major unions have abandoned government-run elections in favor of comprehensive attack that leverages some combination of workers, public, media and political pressure to extract agreements from companies by blocking tracks/roads, spilling grain and defying a restraining order. We can see where this is going. If the NLRB laws are not tightened up to serve the workers and make labor elections fair right now then anarchy will prevail. A member of the NLRB, Terrence Flynn, a Republican, was forced to resign for ethics violations, such as leaking inside information and revealing confidential details to two former board members, one of whom was a former labor adviser to the GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney. This proves the GOP tentacles are far reaching. The GOP anti-workers are eating their seed corn and if labor leaves legal contracts for other means of satisfaction it will not be good for the economy and labor will have no choice for we need to feed and protect our families.