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January 10, 2005

Anti-labor Legislative Agenda

This is part of a series highlighting the legislative agenda of the corporate Right. Part of thinking like the opposition is highlighting the broad agenda of the rightwing, so that the public sees the full range of their desired assault on our rights:

Start with the National Right To Work Committee, the corporate-backed anti-union lobbying organization, which lays out their legislative goals for the coming Congressional session in their January newsletter. Here are the main laws they want passed (some links are to old versions, since new legislation hasn't been published in all cases):

National Right-To-Work Act - This law would prohibit employers and unions from negotiating requirements that all workers pay fees to the union for their share of the costs of negotiating and administering the contract. Instead, any worker would be free to enjoy the benefits of the union contract, require the union to represent the worker in any grievance, yet pay nothing to the union for these services. Many states have passed such laws, so this would make this rule mandatory nationally. A good critique of state "right to work for less" laws here.

Ban Card Check Recognition - This law would prohibit employers from recognizing unions through "card check" procedures, such as a majority of workers signing cards requesting a union. Instead, workers would be forced to go through the delays and frustrations of the NLRB election process. See here for a good analysis of the problems in federal labor elections and the benefits of card check.

End Protection of Salted Workers- Because unions have so many obstacles to communicating with employees during union campaigns, some unions purposefully place pro-union people in workplaces to promote the union. This law would allow employers to fire any employee placed in a workplace as part of such a "salting" campaign. See here for a defense of salting by pro-labor Congresspeople.

Expand "Extortion" Prosecution of Unions- This law would allow unions to be indicted for extortion if any union members engaged in violence during the course of a strike. The law would overturn a 1973 Supreme Court case which emphasized that while individuals engaged in violence could be indicted for their role in promoting violence, the government could not use criminal conspiracy laws to indict unions collectively for such acts. See here for an analysis of this attack on unions.

There's a lot more anti-worker laws percolating in Congress, but these are the top priorities of the NRTW folks to keep an eye on.

Posted by Nathan at January 10, 2005 06:33 PM