September 06, 2006

Resolution Workers’ Right to Organize

Adopted September 6, 2006

Whereas the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948 states: “Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests;” and

Whereas 11 Nobel Peace Prize Laureates have called upon every nation, including the United States, to protect and defend workers’ rights, including the right to form unions and bargain collectively; and

Whereas 73 percent of the American public say laws protecting the freedom to join unions are important; and

Whereas only 12.5 percent of U.S. workers belong to a union; and

Whereas nearly 6 in 10, or 59 percent, of American workers would be in a union if workers could choose freely; and

Whereas 57 million nonunion workers say they want to join a union; and

Whereas employer attempts to obstruct unions is widespread and escalating; and

Whereas over half (52 percent) of private-sector U.S employers, when faced with employees who want to start a union, threaten to shut down or cut back operations if employees join a union; and

Whereas a quarter of employers illegally fire at least one worker for union activity during organizing campaigns, and three-quarters of employers hire consultants or union-busters to help them fight union organizing drives; and 

Whereas more than 20,000 American workers are illegally disciplined or fired for engaging in union activity annually, up from 6,000 in 1969 and under 1,000 per year in the 1950s; and 

Whereas 45 percent of workers who win a union election still don’t have a union contract two years later because of employer delaying tactics and unwillingness to bargain in good faith; and

Whereas employers regularly use an array of administrative and procedural delays in the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) representation election process and in court proceedings; and

Whereas employers engage in unfair labor practices with impunity because the 1935 National Labor Relations Act’s penalties are weak and infrequently enforced; and

Whereas Human Rights Watch in 2000 reported that U.S. labor laws were grossly out-of-compliance with international human rights norms and were failing utterly to protect workers’ basic freedom to form unions and bargain collectively; and

Whereas the Government Accountability Office in 2002 estimated that 32 million U.S. workers lacked even the minimal legal protections to form unions and bargain collectively; and

Whereas since taking office, President Bush and his NLRB appointees have stripped federal labor law coverage, and hence protection, from graduate student employees, certain disabled workers, and employees of temporary help agencies; and

Whereas governors in Indiana, Kentucky and Missouri recently rescinded collective bargaining for state workers and half the states continue to deny public employees the basic right to bargain collectively with their employers.

Therefore, be it resolved that the Alliance for Retired Americans supports passage of bipartisan legislation such as the Employee Free Choice Act (S. 842 and H.R. 1696) introduced by Senators Edward Kennedy and Arlen Specter, and Representatives George Miller and Peter King respectively, which:

  • Provides for the certification of a union when a majority of the employees at a workplace has signed written authorizations stating they wish to have union representation;
  • Gives both employees and employers access to mediation and binding arbitration to reach an initial collective bargaining agreement on a timely basis; and
  • Imposes stiff and quick enforcement of penalties for illegal employer conduct violating workers’ rights.

Be it further resolved that the Alliance for Retired Americans supports efforts to protect public sector workers from federal workplace rules or gubernatorial orders that undermine collective bargaining agreements and any attempts to privatize public sector jobs.


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Topics: Retirement Security

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