Unions and their allies would like to return to an era of union power not seen since 1947. The problem is, if they get their way and their ideas for a workers’ paradise are achieved, America’s workplaces will likely be forever altered.
In terms of percentage of American workers represented by labor unions, unions reached their pinnacle in 1945 with 35.5 percent of the workforce.
Since that time, with the exception of a brief respite in the mid-1950s, unions have been on the decline since 1954…to the point where, now, unions represent less than 11 percent of the entire American workforce and even less (6.5 percent) in the private sector.
Although unions have tried a variety of approaches since the 1970s to regain their foothold, none have been able to counter the near-continuous decline of the American labor movement.
At this point in time, it seems as though most (if not all) of America’s labor union leaders have come to the conclusion that the only way for unions to survive is through government intervention.
To that end, the union-funded think tank known as the Economic Policy Institute has come up with a 15-Point Plan (in full below) to restore unions and, as well, reshape the American workplace in a manner, heretofore, unseen in the United States.
Although unions have long tried to roll-back the 1947 Taft-Hartley Amendments—which allowed states to adopt Right-to-Work laws, barred “secondary boycotts,” and secured employers’ First Amendment rights to communicate with employees on the subject of unionization—these 15 points go well beyond that.
The EPI’s proposals include:
- Eliminating secret-ballot elections on unionization though “card check,” as well as banning employers from holding “captive audience” meetings to persuade their employees against unionization;
- Government-mandated arbitration on union contracts;
- Elimination of state Right-to-Work laws nationwide, which would require all unionized workers to pay union fees or be fired from their employment;
- Elimination of employers’ right to replace economic strikers permanently, and restoring unions’ right to engage in secondary boycotts;
- Raising the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour and indexing it to inflation;
- Expanding the Fair Labor Standards Act overtime provisions to include currently exempted classifications, as well as “raise the salary threshold to $47,476 per year for a full-year worker;”
- Imposing a government mandate for employers to establish advance notice of their schedules, give employees extra pay for on-call scheduling or other schedule changes that occur without sufficient warning, and extra pay when workers’ schedules are changed without reasonable lead time or for short shifts;
- Mandating national paid sick days to allow workers to be able to stay home when sick, when they need to see a doctor, or when a family member needs medical attention;
- Mandating that all employers be required by law to provide workers with a statement of pay that includes worker status (including whether the worker is an employee or an independent contractor and, if an employee, whether he or she is exempt or nonexempt from the overtime protections of the FLSA), a “clear rationale for the worker classification,” the name of the employee’s legal employer(s), rate of pay, hours worked, and all deductions from pay.
- Passing a “joint employer” standard that would be “the default for both collective bargaining and for responsibility for compliance with basic labor standards”;
- Eliminating at-will employment and establishing just cause protections for all workers in the U.S. [See related post here.]
- Eliminating mandatory arbitration agreements and class and collective action waivers in employment agreements;
- Banning noncompete agreements, with very limited carveouts;
- Expanding “fair employment laws” nationally to banning “employment discrimination and harassment based on more individual traits (for example, sexual orientation and gender identity or expression),” increasing penalties and remedies for violations of labor standards; and,
- Creating an employer “blacklist” by establishing a federal database of employers who have violated workplace violations, as well as giving preference to unionized companies on federal contracts.
While some of the EPI’s proposal are less destructive than others, most represent a fundamental shift toward a Command and Control economy, with labor unions as the primary beneficiary. You may get the latest New York labor law posters for employers here.
Here’s the EPI’s full proposal:
EPI 15-Point Plan on Scribd