Saturday, August 17, 2013

a small victory for unions

I grew up on union-organizing songs -- stuff like Pete Seeger and the Almanac Singers -- in a time not that far removed from the bloody battles in which men and women (often derided as "communists") fought with business-controlled police forces to establish a higher wage, a regulated work week and other, improved employment conditions -- conditions we take for granted these days. (Here's Seeger doing "Union Maid" and "Talking Union.")

Time passed and unions like the United Auto Workers gained enormous and carelessly wielded power (union workers made up to 30% more than non-union) until in 2010 the percentage of union workers had dwindled to 11.4% in the U.S., "as compared to 18.4% in Germany, 27.5% in Canada, and 70% in Finland." Employers and Republicans had effectively stemmed the union tide. Now, Walmart-like wages and working conditions are more the norm and less the exception.

But last week, in what has been described as a victory for employees and the National Labor Relations Board, a court ruled that employees had the right to set up "micro unions," smaller units of workers who might not represent all the workers in their place of employment.
Several labor experts called the ruling a big win for the NLRB and for unions. Now that the board has three Democratic members and two Republicans, many employers expect it to issue similar rulings, which they argue could give unions an unfair advantage by allowing them to create “micro units” of workers it would be easier to organize.
Once, it was union organizers who cried, "unfair." Now, in a small way, it is employers' turn.

It's nice to see even a small victory, although, as someone who had personal experience with the NLRB, I would not advise anyone to think that that organization is on the side of the working stiff.


  1. Hi, Adam.

    Would your 'average American' rather live beside a socialist, or a satanist?



  2. This court ruling alLowing so called micro unions is like saying.....ok ,from now on you can have weapons,but nothing more lethal than soft plastic knives... in contrast to government-corporate friendly anti union legislation that's more lethal to the workers than a rocket launcher!