Workers’ Rights and Employment Labor Laws
American InterContinental University
Workers’ Rights and Employment Labor Laws
The United States and Europe have initiated a string of laws geared toward improving workers environments and experiences, living standards, and ensuring fair and equitable treatment. In 1914, the United States Congress passed the Clayton Act which states that labor, of any human being, is not to be considered a product (commodity) or something that one buys, trades or sells (Federal Labor Laws, n.d.). In 1919, the International Labor Organization (ILO) was formed for humanitarian, political, and economical reasons to address the hardships and civil turbulence of the Industrial Revolution (ILO, n.d.). At this time, the ILO also recognized and established that “labor is not a commodity”—at an international level (ILO, n.d.). At the first ILO Convention, nine countries represented the ILO, Belgium, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, France, Italy, Japan, Poland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Six international agreements came to be during the first ILO Convention. This is where the limited 8-hour workday and restricted 48-hour workweek were born. The ILO lives on today. The ILO’s independent Committee of Experts, founded in 1926, continues to evaluate and report on employment related issues and makes recommendations on unratified standards (ILO, n.d.). The United States’ Congress began protecting organized labor as early as 1914 under the Clayton Act by stating that organizations or its members, in regards to the Federal antitrust laws, are not subject to illegalities or conspiracies when restraining monopolies or unfair business practices (Federal Labor Laws, n.d.). On October 23, 1954 Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands formed the Western European Union (EU) in an effort to end war between the various independent countries that now make up Europe (The History, n.d.). These countries found strength in numbers and began operating as one country to create an economic market that allowed people, goods, services and capital to flow freely amongst its members (The History, n.d.). This union opened many doors for workforces and significantly contributed to established labor standards (The History, n.d.). As the European Union grew, their focus on employment and social affairs became an increasingly important function in their operation (The History, n.d.). In the United States, organized labor unions, a coalition of workers protecting their rights, operate as a strong faction in U.S. economics and politics. The European Union, an independent unit of 27 countries and was founded to influence and strengthen European economics and politics. They continue this practice today. The United States has a rich history of labor initiatives. With the establishment of the Clayton Act, came the Railway Labor Act (collective bargaining); Davis-Bacon Act (minimum wages in construction); Norris-LaGuardia Act (unions organization right to strike, economic leverage); the National Industry Recovery Act (NRA fair completion codes and fixed wages); and the esteemed National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) of 1935, that eliminated detrimental labor conditions that obstructed minimum standards of living necessary for a workers health, efficiency and well-being (Federal Labor Laws, n.d.). The NLRA (Wagner Act) guaranteed most firms and employees the right to organize and join labor movements, to choose representatives to bargain collectively, and to strike (Federal Labor Laws, n.d.). Agriculture, government and railroad labors were excluded (Federal Labor Laws, n.d.). The Taft-Hartley Act modified the NLRA about union rights, unfair labor practices by unions, and provisions to protect employers (Federal Labor Laws, n.d.). Since then, Congress has passed approximately 20 initiatives addressing employment and labor issues (Sloan, n.d.). Some of the most recognized...
References: Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). (n.d.). Retrieved July 29, 2011, from United States Department of labor website: http://www.osha.gov/about.html
Selected US Labor Laws and Regulations Timeline
The ILO: What it is. What it does. (n.d.). Retrieved July 29, 2011, from International Labour Organization website: http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/@dgreports/@
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