Introduction to Labor Studies
Final Exam Review
Most Important Readings:
* Yates - Collective Bargaining
* Freeman- What Workers Want
* Sweet and Meiksins - Globalization
* Scott reading on free trade
1. Government, Politics and Labor Unions
2. Collective Bargaining
3. Globalization and Free Trade
1. Government and Labor Unions
Workers and labor unions can achieve change either in the economic arena (unionizing and collective bargaining) or in the governmental arena. Over the past 75 years, some of the greatest achievements have been won in the governmental arena, and unions become integral part of Democratic coalition from Roosevelt on.
Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal (1933-1939)
* New Deal – massive government jobs stimulus programs to boost economy during Great Depression. Based on Keynesian economic theory that government spending to create jobs during economic downturn will boost consumer spending * Social Safety Net: Social Security, Welfare, Unemployment Insurance programs created * Pro-union legislation: Wagner Act makes it easier for unions to organize by providing card-check union recognition when 50 percent plus 1 (majority) sign union cards. Created National Labor Relations Board to rule on unfair labor practices. * John L. Lewis and CIO take advantage of Roosevelt’s pro-union policies to increase union membership from 12 percent to 35 percent of workforce in just six years.
Republican Congressional Reaction
* Taft-Hartley Act passed by Republican Congress over Democratic President Truman’s veto in 1947. * Taft-Hartley requires 90-day waiting period before union elections which gives companies time to fight union organizing drives * Creates “right to work” states where workers do not have to pay union dues. Southern states quickly pass right to work legislation, and U.S. is only nation with pro-union laws in one part of the country and anti-union laws in the other part. Southern states both anti-union and fearful of allowing free labor unions at a time when African-Americans are still suffering under segregation and not allowed to vote. * Creation of “right to work” states enables shift of manufacturing to non-union South starting in 1960s.
John F. Kennedy (D)
* Signs executive order in 1962 allowing federal government workers to unionize, which is quickly followed by state laws allowing state and local government workers to unionize. * Today, half of all union members are in the public sector (teachers, police, fire, state and local government, professors)
Lyndon Johnson (D)
* Expands social safety net in 1960s by creating Medicare health care coverage for the elderly and Medicaid for the poor and disabled.
Barack Obama (D)
* Parallels with Franklin D. Roosevelt
* $787 billion stimulus bill to create and preserve jobs during Great Recession, and General Motors/Chrysler bailout to protect jobs in the auto industry. * Expansion of social safety net through health care bill requiring coverage for almost all workers. * Supported Employee Free Choice Act to promote unions (would have restored Wagner Act simple 50 percent plus 1 card check for unionization with no 90-day wait for separate election, but bill did not pass)
2. Collective Bargaining:
How do unions achieve contracts? What are the major differences between public and private sector? * Union movement today is 50 percent public sector, 50 percent private sector * National Labor Relations Board (one federal agency) governs private sector, various state laws and agencies govern public sector * Private sector has right to strike, public sector does not. * Public sector teachers and government workers have right to nonbinding mediation, police and firefighters have binding arbitration where neutral arbitrator has right to choose final settlement.
What determines the outcome?
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