Saturday, December 09, 2006

No Friend of Labor

As I scanned the Los Angeles Times blog (Opinion LA) a short headline regarding the National Labor Relations Board, and the fact that they do not really help working men and women, like myself, caught my attention. Incase your new here, the two Los Angeles Times Pressrooms are currently being organized by GCC-Teamsters, with the vote to be held in January, 2007.

Here's a few exerpts from today's article.

Thanks in part to the National Labor Relations Board, most American workers haven't seen their share of the booming economy

WHILE President Bush points to low unemployment and a resurgent stock market as signs of a strong economy, most Americans don't feel so bullish. Median incomes are flat, healthcare costs are soaring, pensions are being de-funded and corporate employers are threatening to shred the social contract with their employees that has prevailed for 60 years.


But what happened in San Diego is nothing compared to what happened to workers in Jacksonville, Texas, just the day before. Back in 2000, the employees of a small meat-cutting department at a Jacksonville Wal-Mart voted to unionize. A week later, Wal-Mart announced that it was phasing out in-store meat-cutting departments nationwide. It took six years for the NLRB to conclude that Wal-Mart had unlawfully retaliated against workers trying to unionize. Even then, the board disregarded the ruling of its own administrative law judge and decided that, even though Wal-Mart violated the law, it can't be ordered to restore the unionized meat department.


A nationwide study by the University of Illinois at Chicago found that:
• 30% of employers fire pro-union workers.
• 49% threaten to close a work site when workers try to unionize.
• 82% hire consultants to fight union-organizing drives.
• 91% force employees to attend anti-union meetings with supervisors.


Congress could begin rectifying the situation by passing the Employee Free Choice Act, which already has 215 co-sponsors in the House and 43 in the Senate, perhaps more once Democrats take control of Congress in January. The act would make it less difficult to form a union and authorize stronger penalties for retaliation against workers seeking to unionize.

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