Saturday, October 13, 2012

1935 Workers & U.S. Congress

We need today a Congress like the one we had in 1935, which was a worker-type of Congress that guaranteed the rights of workers to form unions. Their rational for setting forth the National Labor Relations Board Act was that inequality of bargaining power between employees who do not possess full freedom of association … and employers. The money people who are organized in corporate or other forms of ownership association tends to aggravate recurrent business depressions by depressing wage rates and the purchasing power of wage earners in industry and this is the same today. The workers have shown productivity gains for the last 30-40 years and yet the wages have dropped and the money gains have gone to the 1%. Today what workers’ rights we still have are now in extreme jeopardy by restricting most of what the 1935 Congress set forth: (1) by restricting the rights of workers to learn about unions; (2) the right of workers to organize and choose union representation; (3) the right of workers to enter into collective bargaining about all matters regarding their employment. Now the U.S. Supreme Court is going full circle back to pre-1930s and ruling that corporations can bar union organizers from company property. Justice Clarence Thomas’ 1992 decision also ruled and cast doubt on the legitimacy of class action suits for individual workers joining with other wage slaves. Also the Rehnquist court ruled that companies could require workers, as a condition of employment, to sign away their rights to sue them in court. This is one step away from the old 1930 yellow dog contracts that workers once were required to sign saying they would not join a union. This was outlawed by Congress in 1932. How do you think Congress would vote today? Most of all assaults on union and worker rights are championed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Walmart and American Legislative Exchange Council also known as ALEC.