Thursday, July 16, 2015

Work Councils vs Labor Unions

Work councils negotiate wages, pensions and healthcare, but labor unions negotiate wages, pensions, healthcare, worker safety, worker rights, layoffs or anything else that relates to a worker’s job. So labor does give up a lot when it goes to a work council, which does work for large corporations, such as care workers. But they give up the right to strike, so maybe the best thing for labor would be a labor civil rights act, which would boost membership. The other law needed would be card check. Labor must have new laws to counter the GOP’s attack on unions and workers by use of the Koch brothers’ money and right-to-work laws. The Kochs are funding the right to work which eliminates the union dues and thereby bankrupts unions. At this time 24 states have right-to-work laws, which means all dues are volunteer, but labor under Section 9(a) has a legal duty to represent every single union member or employee equally, fairly whether they pay union dues or not. This is a labor law that works against unions and needs to be changed by Democrats who labor has historically been supported by unions by contributions and boot on the ground. As union money diminishes more Democrats are turning to big money for funding, which means we are heading for a one party political system. Unions are not just what is good for workers, they are good and needed to get pay checks big enough to sustain the kind of aggregate demand that will keep us near full employment. We also need a labor movement to help recycle the cash horded by companies that are just sitting on the cash or loaning it at a price instead of investing in their companies to make products that will provide work. James Madison argued that the design of the U.S. Constitution is to achieve a balance between the majority Have Not faction and that of the Haves. If this fails, then how long before our democracy fails? Remember our wage fight for $15 to $18 an hour minimum wage, free education and the rent for out Commons—all of these things will not happen without the world’s proletarians. It is up to us to win or lose. And your vote and that of your family members do count.