« Radically Changing the Labor Movement | Main | Race to the Bottom »

May 05, 2004

American Rights At Work

Alogn with Justice At Work, one of the most exciting new initiatives is the organization, American Rights at Work, an effort to build a broad-based advocacy and research effort in support of the right to organize. They've released a number of reports detailing labor abuses across the country and have now launched a regular feature, Eye on the NLRB, detailing examples of abuses that even the Bush Labor Board admits violate the law.

The example this month? The firing of a Hewlett Packard employee, David Snead, for advocating a union back in 2002. TWO YEARS after losing his job, the NLRB found his rights had been violated.

The punishment for Hewlett Packard? Paying the wages Snead would have earned, MINUS anything he has earned since then. It's a bit as if you get robbed and the only punishment is the robber having to give you the money back.

As for the union organizing campaign in David's work unit:

After the illegal firing it never got off the ground. David’s firing is an example of a common tactic used by employers because “the ‘chilling’ effect created by sacking activists can halt a union campaign in its tracks.” And even if the NLRB decision provides some relief to David, it hardly suggests to his coworkers that they are protected if they support a union.
And remember, most violations of the law never get to the labor board. This is as high as the penalties go under labor law. No fines, no punitive damages.

And you wonder why unions are struggling.

Posted by Nathan at May 5, 2004 09:56 AM