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on September 1, 2012
This is truly a very important work. The idea of labor rights being a civil right comes from Tom Geoghegan a labor lawyer , author and significant creative thinker.
Businesses are basically "blowing off" union organizing efforts,preferring to pay a minor fine than allow their employees to negotiate a piece of productivity gains. We are in a wage drought because of this. The give and take of sharing productivity gains has led to us dramatically increasing inequality. I came away from the book appreciating the almost organic nature of how as productivity gradually rises ,workers need to negotiate and share in that productivity , something which is important for individual workers and also for the economy. Almost like the seasons of the year we need give and take with regard to hourly compensation negotiations.
The authors argue that labor is in a box and unless they can get out of the box and increase union membership it is very unlikely that the country will be able to move a progressive agenda.A must read for progressives and union members.
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on October 2, 2013
Authors present an alternative approach to protecting the right of collective action. After failed efforts to reform the NLRA and related legislation, the civil rights approach may work. Unfortunately, years of strife between workers and management may be a necessary predicate to actualizing the theory. Book's only weakness is the authors' simplistic approach to drafting protective legislation.
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on February 20, 2013
First, the labor laws have been essentially unchanged since 1947. Yet union membership reached its peak density in the early 1950s when the same weak labor laws applied. More analysis is required to explain this fact. The relationship between weak labor law and decreasing union density is problematic. Second, the assumption that organizing would have more success under a different federal statutory regime is hard to accept. The new federal statute would be policed by the same conservative judges who refuse to apply existing labor law (as weak as it is) in an honest way. Further, the win rates of plaintiffs in federal civil rights cases is abysmal. Sure the remedies are better, but if no one ever wins and cases are routinely dismissed on summary judgment what difference does the theoretical remedial structure make? Would we not simply be exchanging one ineffective legal regime for another?
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