Monday, May 09, 2011

JuridicsUSA: Labor: States r+ts and r+t to work legislation target of NLRB suit


On Apr21,2k11, the National Labor Relations Board, a Federal USA agency,  brawt suit on behalf of the International Association of Machinists (District 751) based in Seattle, Washington, the largest union at Boeing Companies's facilities of manufacture and assembly in the Puget Sound area.  Perhaps the leading product there was the old-line of 787 Boeing airliners.  See:  NLRB suit against Boeing asks return of state jobs, Seattle Times via Wenatchee World.

A week later, the headlines read States blast NRLB suit (Post and Courier, Charleston SC).  The nine states involved, led by South Carolina, all have what is called "r+t to work" laws (a total of 22 out of 50 USA states have such laws), this legislation stipulating that no one may be denied employment becawz of refusal to join a union.  This r+t  is recognized internationally by the UN Declaration of Human R+ts where freedom of association and, the corollary, freedom of non-association are guaranteed. 

Read more .... click the t+mstamp below ...

This kind of law implies further that members of the same workforce unit, whether of a specific trade or not, can choose different unions to represent them will full recognition, or can choose no union at all.  It is a keystone of principle-based unionization where workers who choose a union in a vote can be represented in a system of democratic unionization of workers' representation.  Full recognition entails that minority unions have their proportion of shop stewards on the shop floor, in the offices of non-management employees, in the mines, on the drilling rigs on land or sea, in the skies where the commercial airplanes fly.  If the government allows unionization of its employees (whatever the tier of government employment -- federal, state, local), these shoud also be part of a plurally democratic system of workers representation -- as in the cases of those American jurisdictions of public-school teachers and staff, police, and firefighters where unionization exists.  This vision of principle-based unionization and a system of democratic pluralization of workers representation applies not only to proportionality of shop stewards, but also of workers representation and participation in the safety committees, and further proportional representation on the negotiation committee for renewal of contracts governing wherever wages, benefits, and grievance procedures regarding work conditions, are instituted between the company's management, the unions selected to represent works by secret ballots, and shop-floor nominees from the ranks of the unions which choose to follow this practice.

This worker representation system is the rule in almost all of Europe, protected by the labor 
legislation of most countries there.  It has not flourished in Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Canada (there were a few developments in the direction of principial unions in French Canada, and since the heyday of Québec. the Christian Labour Association of Canada, tied to no church, has put in place a number of signposts on the way to democratic pluralization of workers representation, principial unions, and union competition by way of differences among visions of work, representation, and earning an income and contracting for wages, safety, health, and benefits.

In France, for instance, there are five main umbrella groups based on different principles. Arguably the largest union, CFDT, a split off from the traditional labour central of Christian principles, has nearly one million members.  But in the present phase, the Communist-fostered union of principle, the CGT, may still claim to be the largest from the standpoint of the figures of the last employees' election of representation.  There's a Christian union remaining which gets about 9% of the workers' votes, there's a national union of professional managers, and there's Force Ouvrière, an independent socialist-principled union not affiliated to any church or political party (if I presently undersand the main lines of configuration among French workers today).

In Germany, the Christian Workers Union Council has survived the Communists, Nazis, and Socialists.  Today Christlichen Gewerkschaftsbund Deutschlands (CGB), has a voluntary membership of 280,000.

In the Netherlands, the Nationaal Christelijke Vakverbond counts 350, 000 members in an advanced system of democratic pluralization of workers representation.

The United Kingdom of Great Britain is the great exception, as it is guided by a meta-industrial system
where the winning union in a rather rigidified trades-first system where minority unions get no proportional representation, majority unions reign supreme in a winner-take-all set-up analogous to Britain's non-proportional level  of political representation of citizen-voters in Parliament's House of Commons (altho Scotland's young National Assembly is characterized by proportional representation, as are some other jurisdications, at least in some features).  In each Parliamentary district, again, the winner takes all, majority or no, and voters for other parties or independents are simply erased.  That's one reason why I think the expansion of democratic workers representation in Britain woud probably be best initiated in a Christian Labour Association of England (the prayer-for CLAE).

Within the Commonwealth of nations affiliated to Britain for historical reasons, Canada is the only country with as Christian Labour Association (CLAC) uniting 50,000 members of all faiths who agree to be associated to advance the Christian social principles in the context of work relations, in a hoped-for future system of democratic pluralization of workers representation thru principial unions.

With this we return to the immediate context of labor legislation in the USA and the present effort of the NLRB to determine which companies and which unions can practice a full freedom of association and the r+t to work whether a member of a union, or not.

We will return to this theme in a future post.

-- Lawt with EconoMix

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