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Wed Dec 26, 2012, 12:42 PM

Time to repeal Taft-Hartley

http://peoplesworld.org/time-to-repeal-taft-hartley/



It is one of those ironies of history that on December 10, 1948 the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and that December 10th of each year is celebrated as "International Human Rights Day." Article 23 of that document says, among other things that "everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests."

<snip>

During the Great Depression the labor movement, often led by communists and other militants, achieved great breakthroughs. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed into law the National Labor Relations Act, also known as the Wagner Act (often called labor's Magna Carta), which ensured unions the right to organize and bargain collectively. Workers in every state undertook heroic struggles to gain a voice in determining the conditions of their employment. Millions of workers joined unions and won many hard-fought strikes.

The capitalists and their political minions did not sit idly by; they did not want their power and control over the workers diminished. After World War II, at a time when the percentage of workers with union cards reached an all-time high and militancy was on the rise, the right-wing in Congress struck back. Both houses passed the Taft-Hartley Act, and though President Harry S. Truman vetoed the bill, Congress over-rode the veto. The law's provisions struck right at the heart of labor unions.

<snip>

Therefore, we can conclude that the Taft-Hartley Act is an outdated relic of the Cold War. Its provisions restrict the rights of unions and weaken them in their relations with the employers. Congress should repeal the law and replace it with legislation that guarantees organized workers the right to reinstate the closed or union shop through collective bargaining in any state. It would go a long way toward strengthening the labor movement. Such a goal should be a part of any fightback by workers against the ultra-right and its drive for unfettered power.




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Arrow 18 replies Author Time Post
Reply Time to repeal Taft-Hartley (Original post)
Starry Messenger Dec 2012 OP
immoderate Dec 2012 #1
reteachinwi Dec 2012 #2
bvar22 Dec 2012 #8
reteachinwi Dec 2012 #10
white_wolf Dec 2012 #15
Recursion Dec 2012 #3
rhett o rick Dec 2012 #9
Jim Lane Dec 2012 #12
rhett o rick Dec 2012 #13
limpyhobbler Dec 2012 #4
Starry Messenger Dec 2012 #6
Left Turn Only Dec 2012 #5
Starry Messenger Dec 2012 #7
immoderate Dec 2012 #11
tama Jan 2013 #16
Left Turn Only Jan 2013 #17
tama Jan 2013 #18
HiPointDem Dec 2012 #14

Response to Starry Messenger (Original post)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 01:47 PM

1. The "ultra-right" you mention is now called "The Congress."

Why would they repeal Taft-Hartley?

--imm

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Response to immoderate (Reply #1)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 03:25 PM

2. The bible tells them so

 

Deuteronomy 24 15


"You shall give him his wages on his day before the sun sets, for he is poor and sets his heart on it; so that he will not cry against you to the LORD and it become sin in you.

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Response to reteachinwi (Reply #2)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 05:44 PM

8. I always love a good biblical quote.

"They were arrogant and spoiled; they had everything they needed and still refused to help the poor and needy." ---Ezekiel 16:49

"For the scoundrel will speak like a scoundrel and will hatch evil in his heart; he is an impostor in all his actions, and in his words a liar even to the LORD; he starves the hungry of their food and refuses drink to the thirsty. The villain's ways are villainous and he devises infamous plans to ruin the poor with his lies and deny justice to the needy." ---Isaiah:



"The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he, who in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children.

And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who would attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee."
---Ezekiel 25:17

Sam Jackson gets MY vote for Best Biblical Quote EVER for his delivery of Ezekiel 25:17 in Pulp Fiction!

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Response to bvar22 (Reply #8)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 06:19 PM

10. There are many

 

Jeremiah 22 13

And the LORD says, "What sorrow awaits Jehoiakim, who builds his palace with forced labor. He builds injustice into its walls, for he makes his neighbors work for nothing. He does not pay them for their labor.

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Response to bvar22 (Reply #8)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 10:01 PM

15. The entire fifth chapter of of James if full of wonderful gems.

I'm not Christian, but I like James.

"Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. 2 Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. 3 Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. 4 Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. 5 You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned and murdered the innocent one, who was not opposing you."


The great thing is you can find these quotes in every religious text, but my favorite has to be from the Pali Cannon of Buddhism where Buddha tells employers to pay a living wage. That's actually the translation that is used too.

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Response to Starry Messenger (Original post)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 03:44 PM

3. You want to go back to closed shop?

I'm iffy on that. Way too much potential for abuse

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Response to Recursion (Reply #3)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 05:57 PM

9. So what do you propose? nm

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #9)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 05:34 AM

12. An alternative that was long part of the Dem platform: Repeal section 14(b)

We could retain the prohibitions on the closed shop (employer may not hire nonmembers of the union) and on the union shop (employer may hire nonmembers but they must join the union within a certain period of time). Before the Taft-Hartley Act, both of these restrictions on hiring could be included in a collective bargaining agreement between the union and the employer.

Section 14(b) is the provision that goes even further and authorizes state governments to prohibit the agency shop. In an agency shop, again established by bargaining between the union and the employer, all employees must be union members, become union members, or make a payment to the union in lieu of dues, to bear their share of the union's expenses incurred in representing them and in winning better wages and working conditions for them. If a state government chooses to exercise this power, the resulting statute is called a "right-to-work law" -- a misleading term, because the law doesn't give anyone a right to work. It merely gives a right to freeload.

I don't know what's in recent Democratic Party platforms about section 14(b). I remember that repealing it was a goal of the party and was being actively pushed in the 1960s, though without success. These days, the labor movement puts a higher priority on card check, which facilitates the initial step of certifying a union that can negotiate a collective bargaining agreement in the first place.

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Response to Jim Lane (Reply #12)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 11:05 AM

13. I wasnt aware of the specifics. THank you. nm

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Response to Starry Messenger (Original post)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 03:44 PM

4. A couple recent news stories

Taft-Hartley has been in the news lately.

Florida ports in Miami and Fort Lauderdale would be directly hit by a strike or lockout but a stoppage would also rattle overall transport and trade, which accounts for 550,000 jobs in the state and $66 billion in economic activity, Florida Governor Rick Scott said in a letter dated Thursday.

"The threat to national safety and security that would result from mass closure of ports cannot be overstated," Scott told Obama.

Scott said Obama had the power under 1947's Taft-Hartley Act to prevent or interrupt a work stoppage at the ports. Presidents Richard Nixon and George W. Bush both used Taft-Hartley, which calls for 80-day cooling-off periods and mediation, Scott said.

"The Taft-Hartley Act provides your administration with tools that can help avoid this threat," Scott said. "On behalf of the State of Florida, I respectfully request that you invoke the act when the contract ... expires at the end of the month."
...
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/23/florida-ports-strike_n_2353178.html

The National Retail Federation has dubbed the strike the “Container Cliff”, and while it’s not going to have the same economic impact as the sweeping tax hikes and spending cuts set to be triggered on December 31, it has plenty of businesses worried. As the NRF Vice President Jonathan Gold said in a statement last week:

“It is extremely disheartening to learn that the two sides failed to reach an agreement during today’s negotiations. NRF urges both sides to remain at the table until a deal is reached.

“It is imperative that both sides verbally announce their intentions to return to the negotiations. A coast-wide port shutdown would have a significant impact across all businesses and industries that rely on the ports, particularly retail.

“The last thing the economy needs right now is another strike, which would impact all international trade and commerce at the nation’s East and Gulf Coast container ports. This is truly a ‘container cliff’ in the making.

“The retail industry, once again, calls on President Obama to engage directly in the negotiations. The President should utilize all available tools, including Taft-Hartley, to eliminate even the threat of a strike or lockout. The time for leadership is now.”

...
http://blogs.wsj.com/corporate-intelligence/2012/12/24/ports/


Clearly repealing TH ought to be a top priority for labor and progressive allies. Always surprised that we don't hear much about it in the public discourse.



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Response to limpyhobbler (Reply #4)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 04:22 PM

6. I started hearing a little more about it when Occupy started up.

Some young activists were frustrated with the limited range of action that unions can do. It's still pretty amazing that it hasn't been on the progressive list of things to do until recently.

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Response to Starry Messenger (Original post)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 04:06 PM

5. Divide and Conquer

Last edited Fri Jan 25, 2013, 12:49 PM - Edit history (1)

Why is it that the country that defined democracy for the modern world does not have laws that represent the workers in our country when we are by far the majority? Employers can make you work ridiculous amounts of overtime even when you don't want to; they can split your days off so you only have one day off at a time; and, they can pay you low wages and give you terrible benefits (if any at all), so that you need to use food stamps and other government help, which costs all of us money. There are two major reasons for the aforementioned travesty: First, the global economy was never meant to help "we the people" but to enslave us by tying our wages and benefits to underdeveloped nations, which have greatly increased the profits of corporations. Second, the concerted effort by businesses and the conservatives that represent them to destroy unions by creating a jealous, under-paid work force has been successful. This divide and conquer strategy worked because companies could now say they couldn't pay union wages while competing with competition from overseas -- competition they created.

Now, non-union workers blame the unions for the loss of jobs in our country and feel union workers are over paid and lazy. In reality, by voting to end collective bargaining in states, workers are putting the nails in their own coffins because now they and their children will have even less chance of getting decent jobs. Unions are the only voice the common person has against the power of businesses, which through their enormous profits now control our government, while getting people to believe our government is too big. The people don't realize that government (us) is the only way to balance the power of big money if we take part in that government as a people. The perfect example of people being turned against our own interests is health care. Corporations have the people trusting them for providing health care rather than their own government. While people can vote people in or out of office, how much say do we have on a corporate board of a health insurance company whose prime motive for existence is to make as much money as possible for their share holders?

It's all about greed of the already wealthy. When unions first got started and made significant gains for workers to balance the wealth even a little bit, what did businesses do? They raised prices, causing a steady increase in the cost of living, so their collective wealth would not decrease even a little bit. Until the people stop trying to bring down workers who have more than they do and turn their anger toward the powers that run all our lives, the proper legislation will never be passed.

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Response to Left Turn Only (Reply #5)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 04:25 PM

7. Great, amazing post.

Welcome to DU!

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Response to Left Turn Only (Reply #5)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 06:31 PM

11. Hey! Welcome to DU!



--imm

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Response to Left Turn Only (Reply #5)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 01:28 PM

16. Divide and conquer

 

While capital can move freely over national borders while labor cannot, that is obviously divide and conquer force of the race to the bottom.

But the divide and conquer goes much deeper, as also people dislocated and robbed and turned into working sub-class wear the chains of dividing and conquering the whole of nature into consumer-subjects and nature objectified as consumable resources.

So as long as working sub-class stays chained into dividing and conquering whole of nature similarly to their capitalist masters, they are easy to divide and conquer as sub-class of consumer subjects.

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Response to tama (Reply #16)

Sat Jan 5, 2013, 10:59 AM

17. capitalist economics

I agree, unfortunately few people ever think about the earth's ever declining natural resources. A capitalist economy based on ever increasing-profits, which is partly based on an ever-increasing population, is both impossible and self destructive. We are all living on an economy of borrowed time, whether budgets are balanced or not.

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Response to Left Turn Only (Reply #17)

Sat Jan 5, 2013, 12:18 PM

18. aka "overshoot" nt

 

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Response to Starry Messenger (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 03:10 PM

14. kr. as soon as the war was over, business started moving against the gains labor had made. T-H

 

was a big move.

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