Justice on the Job: Perspectives on the Erosion of Collective Bargaining in the United States

Justice on the Job: Perspectives on the Erosion of Collective Bargaining in the United States

Justice on the Job: Perspectives on the Erosion of Collective Bargaining in the United States

Justice on the Job: Perspectives on the Erosion of Collective Bargaining in the United States

Synopsis

The freedom to form a union has been formally recognized as a basic human right by the United Nations and its member states since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was ratified in1948 (United Nations 1948). Yet in the United States today, the freedom to form unions andbargain collectively is heavily suppressed, and the law provides workers with little protection.

Excerpt

Richard N. Block Michigan State University

Sheldon Friedman AFL-CIO

Michelle Kaminski Michigan State University

Andy Levin AFL-CIO

“Democracy cannot work unless it is honored in the factory as well as the polling both; [workers] cannot be truly free in body and in spirit unless their freedom extends into the places where they earn their daily bread.” This quote from Senator Robert Wagner in 1935 as he introduced the bill that came to be known as the Wagner Act captures the importance of workers’ rights in our society. Yet in 2000, no less an authority than Human Rights Watch found that legal protections for the fundamental human rights of U.S. workers to form unions, bargain collectively, and strike fall woefully short of meeting the requirements of international law (Human Rights Watch 2000). the freedom to form a union has been formally recognized as a basic human right by the United Nations and its member states since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was ratified in 1948 (United Nations 1948). the international importance of freedom of association and the right to bargain collectively was reaffirmed in 1998, when the International Labour Organization (ILO), the tripartite United Nations body that is responsible for labor issues, designated the right to freedom of association and to bargain collectively as one of four workplace rights so universal and . . .

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