Last week, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its annual report on union membership rates in the United States. In stark contrast to the decline in union membership we’ve seen in recent years, union membership levels held relatively steady at 11.8 percent in 2011.
Though cash-strapped state and local governments cut jobs, the percentage of public sector workers in unions increased from 36.2 percent to 37.0 percent. Job loss in the public sector was offset by gains in the private sector, where union membership stayed at 6.9 percent with an increase of 110,000 union members. The construction industry, which experienced one of the greatest drops in unionization in 2010, saw 73,000 union members added in 2011—the largest net gain for any industry. Read more »
Late last week, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a decision in D.R. Horton, Inc., ruling that companies cannot prevent employees from bringing workplace grievances as a class in all judicial venues under mandatory arbitration agreements.
The decision didn’t come as much of a shock to anyone familiar with the details of the case. Under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), employees have full freedom to come together and engage in concerted activity to address workplace concerns. In clear violation of the Act, D.R. Horton enforced its arbitration agreement by dividing a group of workers facing overtime violations into single units. In other words, workers had to seek justice as individuals rather than as a group—even though they shared the same complaint against their employer. Read more »
When Craig Becker’s recess term on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) expired in December, the outlook didn’t look good for workers in 2012. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the NLRB needs three members to exercise its authority, so without new appointees, the Board would have been forced to shut down—leaving workers and employers alike in the lurch.
Yesterday was a big day for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)—and for workers’ rights. First, the Board voted to approve a resolution that includes some but not all of the proposals set forth in its recent rule to ensure a fairer union election process for workers. Several hours later, corporate-backed politicians in the U.S. House of Representatives struck back with a bill that, rather than addressing the problems in the current union election process, mandates a delay. This “Election Prevention Act” stands almost no chance of passing the Senate (whew!) but it certainly shows just how far anti-worker lawmakers are willing to go to pad the pockets of the 1 percent, even when it comes at the expense of their constituents.
Last week, the GOP-controlled House continued their attack on workers, passing a widely denounced outsourcers bill of rights. The bill (H.R. 2587) strips workers – union and non-union alike – of recourse when companies unlawfully transfer production in retaliation against workers exercising their rights, making it easier for businesses to ship good, middle-class jobs overseas. Read more »
Yesterday in Washington, DC, American Rights at Work Executive Director Kimberly Freeman Brown joined the scores of workers and labor experts who have spoken out in defense of the National Labor Relations Board’s proposed rule to modernize union elections. The rule would remove unnecessary procedural delays and includes commonsense changes such as allowing for electronic filing.
As Kim pointed out, a fairer elections process unburdened by needless litigation and delay is “good news for workers, employers, and the economy.” Read more »
Less than a week after the Super Bowl, the NFLPA and American Rights at Work met Thursday morning to discuss the economic impact of a lockout on the local economies around the country. Joining them were Ravens cornerback Chris Carr, former player Brian Mitchell, John Marler of UNITE HERE Local 24 and The Nation Sports Editor David Zirin.
“Despite every NFL team being profitable, record television revenues and a Super Bowl that now ranks as the highest rated show on television, owners are demanding the players take pay cuts and work longer, said Kimberly Freeman Brown, Executive Director of American Rights at Work.
Yesterday, American Rights at Work Executive Director Kimberly Freeman Brown and George Atallah, the NFL Players Association’ Assistant Executive Director for External Affairs, held a briefing call to discuss the implications of a lockout for all workers. Kim and George were joined on the call by a diverse group of non-labor organizations, coalitions, and think tanks, including: Center for American Progress , National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, Drum Major Institute for Public Policy, Jobs with Justice, Military Saves, National Consumers League, Center for Economic and Policy Research, and The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.
George began the call by reminding the participants that while labeled an “association,” the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) is in fact a union. It was formed in 1956 with the rallying cry “clean socks and jocks,” in response to team owners refusing to provide clean uniforms. Ever since, the NFLPA has been fighting for many of the same workplace protections as workers in other industries—including health care, pensions, and safety on the job. And with the threat of a lockout looming, the NFLPA is standing with the hundreds of thousands of everyday workers – from the grounds crew in the stadium to the bell hops in the hotels – who would lose their jobs without a football season. Read more »
There’s no way around it: We’re about to see a major shift in the political landscape. Far-right Republicans helped the GOP gain a majority in the House of Representatives, and there were losses for Democrats in the Senate as well.
And in Arizona, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Utah, the so-called secret ballot measures we blogged about last week all passed. It’s a chilling indication of how far corporate interests will go to maintain a status quo that protects exploitative employers, even if it means continued setbacks for workers and the economy. Read more »