Workers & Economic Inequality

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Freeriding on the labor movement

TCF fellow, Amy B. Dean writes about the benefits that unions have created in an article for AlJazeera America.

American communities depend on collective action. Fire and police departments are great examples: They can function successfully because all of us pay in — not only those whose houses have burned down or been burglarized.

These institutions work on the principle that the most effective way to protect individual interests is for all to contribute a little for the common benefit. When someone doesn't contribute, everyone suffers. If someone didn't want to chip in for firefighters or police officers, but still expected the benefits of these collective protections, they would be considered freeloaders and their behavior would be rightly vilified.

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Tags: unions, union rights, union organizing, union, labor unions, labor organizing, labor movement

Proposal for Union Membership to be a Civil Right

TCF fellows, Richard D. Kahlenberg and Moshe Marvit have been quoted in a Tri-States Public Radio article about the Ellison-Lewis Bill.

Progressive Democrats are fighting back against employers that break the law by introducing legislation on Capitol Hill that makes free association with unions a Civil Right.

Democratic Congressmen Keith Ellison, of Minnesota, and John Lewis, the Civil Rights pioneer from Georgia, on July 30 introduced the Employee Empowerment Act, a measure that would shield labor organizing from retaliation like protections against other forms of discrimination. The legislation would make joining a union a legally protected Civil Right by bringing union membership under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act – the same legislation that bars employment bias based on race, gender, religion, national origin, etc.

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Tags: unions, union rights, union organizing, union movement, labor unions, labor rights, labor organizing as a civil right, labor organizing, labor movement, labor laws

Labor Rights are Civil Rights

TCF fellow Richard D. Kahlenberg talks to Labor Lines about why labor organizing should be a civil right.

Chris Perez examines “Why Labor Organizing Should be a Civil Right” a book which offers a unique solution to the anti-union discrimination that has become so prevalent in the United States. Finally, several aspiring union women labor broadcasters interviewed each other about training female leaders in the union movement.

Listen to the podcast in full

Tags: unions, union rights, union organizing, union movement, labor unions, labor rights, labor organizing as a civil right, labor organizing, labor movement

Belabored Podcast #59: Labor Rights as Civil Rights, with Moshe Marvit

TCF fellow, Moshe Marvit talks about labor rights as civil rights, in an interview for Dissent Magazine.

Unionization has always been about labor rights—but is the right to form a union also a civil right? How might the politics and culture of organized labor change if society saw unionization not simply as an exercise of collective power in the workplace, but as an individual entitlement, part of one’s economic citizenship? We explore this question with Moshe Marvit, a Century Foundation fellow who recently helped turn the idea into legislation now pending in Congress. We also discuss minority unionism, technology and labor exploitation, and how our concepts of labor rights are evolving in response to economic shifts and intensifying legal attacks on the labor movement.

Listen to the entire podcast here.

Tags: unions, unionization, union rights, labor rights, labor organizing as a civil right, labor organizations, labor movement, civil rights

The New Volkswagen Model: Minority Unionism

TCF fellow, Moshe Marvit writes about United Auto Workers "minority union" at a Volkswagen plant in Tennessee, in a piece for In These Times.

When the workers at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, voted in February on whether to unionize, the stakes were high. A victory would create a foothold for labor in the elusive South, while a defeat could be interpreted as a sign of the labor movement’s inexorable decline.

The vote went against the union—712 to 626—and labor was left to figure out its next move. Under U.S. labor law, another vote cannot be held for a year.

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Tags: volkswagen, united auto workers, unions, union movement, labor unions, labor protest, labor movement

Civil Rights and Union Organizing

TCF fellows, Richard D. Kahlenberg and Moshe Marvit have been mentioned in an article about the Ellison-Lewis Bill, in an article published on The New Crossroads.

With unions nearing extinction in the private sector and under relentless attack in the public sector, making union organizing a civil right could help revive the battered U.S. labor movement.

A bill recently proposed by Rep. Keith Ellison (D- Minn.) and Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) would extend that right to union organizers.

By defining organizing a fundamental right, the bill would provide workers with the protection against discrimination now enjoyed by minorities. Under the legislation, workers who are fired for organizing would have the right to sue their employers for damages in federal court.

Read the full article.

Tags: unions, union organizing, union movement, labor rights, labor organizing as a civil right, labor organizing, labor laws, civil rights


Workers & Economic Inequality

Workers & Economic Inequality

In recent decades, and especially since 2000, the richest Americans have enjoyed soaring income and wealth while the rest of the population's living standards have stagnated. The Century Foundation was one of the first institutions to raise serious concerns about these trends and propose ideas for improving economic conditions for all Americans- not just the fortunate few.

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