We must once again imagine a legal regime that both encourages workers’ collective activity and gives their organizations real power in the governing process.
In today’s dysfunctional economic climate, straightforward bargaining frequently comes up empty.
Employers come to the table with lengthy lists of takeaways and refuse to compromise. Claiming impasse at the earliest opportunity, they threaten to carry out their final offer or impose a lockout. To cope with these realities many unions are turning to militant contract campaigns. Creative and aggressive tactics can demonstrate members’ solidarity, resolve, and willingness to act…..
…. The United States needs a different kind of collective bargaining that responds to the changes in the economy over recent decades. In this modernized bargaining system, virtually all workers would be able to collectively bargain; bargaining would occur primarily at the industry level; and workers would have sufficient power to negotiate with employers. This new kind of bargaining can be created through a national policy of bargaining through wage boards, where employers, workers, and the public negotiate collectively. Wage boards would represent a significant change from the current bargaining process, but they have a proven track record in several U.S. states as well as in other countries.
Wage boards raise compensation for all types of workers, whether they are contracted temp workers or employees of a dominant firm; whether they are in a union or not; and regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation. Rather than allowing potentially arbitrary or discriminatory factors influence workers’ pay levels, wage board panels set minimum pay levels based on measurable indicators such as the work and required skills. Furthermore, because wage boards raise minimum standards for wages and benefits across an industry, they help reduce firms’ incentives to try to cut labor costs by discriminating, contracting out work, or fighting unions.
Wage boards would also help boost productivity by ensuring that similar work receives similar pay. This enables a more efficient allocation of resources and encourages more cooperative firm-level relations between workers and their managers.11 Wage boards would help high-road businesses compete on an even playing field, as low-road employers would face new minimum standards for pay and benefits. ….
….In order for bargaining above the firm level to function properly, workers must be able to take collective action without fearing retaliation from their employer. Not only does current law fail to protect actions necessary for firm-level bargaining, but it also provides fewer protections for the kinds of actions—such as boycotting and striking—needed to make industry-level bargaining work. This is why policymakers must broaden and enhance worker protections.
Additionally, wage boards create a free-rider problem because workers will benefit from higher standards even if they do not pay the costs of achieving them. As a result, wage board policy reforms will need to establish new ways of joining unions and other worker organizations that do the work necessary for industry-level bargaining…..
….But, just how far would the average worker go to get a bigger paycheck? Would they do something drastic like breakup with their significant other? How about something a little more watered down (for some at least) like giving up watching Game of Thrones? To gauge how far Americans would go to receive an immediate 10 percent raise in their annual wages or salaries, LendEDU asked 1,238 respondents a series of “would you rather” questions where they had to weigh making a steep sacrifice in order to get a nice pay bump…..
A Third of Americans Would Forfeit Their Voting Rights For a 10% Pay Raise, Says Study
Source: Jennifer Calfas, Time, April 5, 2018
More than a third of Americans would give up their right to vote for a 10% annual pay raise, according to a new survey.
Pause for a second to let that sink in.
The peculiar findings come from a survey conducted by LendEDU, an online student loan marketplace, that polled 1,238 working Americans. In exchange for the hypothetical pay bump, about 35% of these employees said they would sacrifice their voting rights for life. In addition, just over 9% of respondents said they would give up their children’s (or future children’s) right to vote for life for the make-believe raise.
…. We begin with an overview of gig and platform work and the structural and institutional challenges that gig- and platform-based workers in building collective, group agency. This is followed by a review gigworker organizing strategies based on the institutions or organizations that workers have formed or joined for the purpose of building agency. We stress the importance of workers’ organizations – broadly defined – as a site to agglomerate the economic, political, and cultural resources necessary to provoke change. The tenure of organizations allows workers to experiment with various tools and strategies to improve conditions and adopt those that are effective. The four organizational structures we explore (union renewal strategies and new organizing initiatives, worker forums, worker centres, and cooperatives) represent a comprehensive list of organizations that are actively organizing and supporting gig economy workers. Given the rapid turnover of the on-demand workforce, we view the tenacity and adaptive strategies of workers’ organizations as vital to developing a sustainable and dynamic labour movement. Each initiative examined has its own section delineated by a heading and a summary of the principle strategies used. We then turn to efforts by employers’ organizations to support their members in adapting to, and influencing these new realities.
The paper ends with a discussion of barriers that self-employed platform workers face to effectively achieve collective bargaining and efforts to achieve effective representation and collective bargaining for workers in the gig economy. In this section we discuss important steps that could be taken to ensure the right to freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining among independent contractors, who often find their these rights curtailed by anti-trust legislation. This section also highlights a number of recent efforts at collective regulation undertaken by workers and platforms in the gig economy…..
Draft language in CBAs and benefits documents thoughtfully.
Retiree health care benefits end when a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between a company and a union expires, unless the CBA provides otherwise, the Supreme Court ruled Feb. 20. The decision underscores the importance of giving careful thought to all language proposed and agreed to at the bargaining table, said David Pryzbylski, an attorney with Barnes & Thornburg in Indianapolis. Make sure the language in the CBA clearly expresses the parties’ intent, he stated. Benefits documents should as well, labor relations attorneys say. ….
From the abstract:
This article begins with a brief history of unionization and collective bargaining in higher education. It then presents data concerning the recent growth in newly certified collective bargaining representatives at private and public-sector institutions of higher education, particularly among non-tenure track faculty. The data is analyzed in the context of legal decisions concerning employee status and unit composition under applicable federal and state laws. Lastly, the article presents data concerning strike activities on campuses between January 2013 and May 31, 2017.
When confronted with a concessionary demand at the bargaining table, what if you filled the room with rank-and-file members? What would happen?
Kalamazoo, Michigan, teachers received an urgent message in July from their union’s private Facebook account for members: in bargaining, the district was demanding a pay freeze.
Within an hour teachers began to arrive at negotiations; soon they packed the room and turned the bargaining process on its head. All told, 46 members showed up at the union office on a beautiful summer day. The rapid response dramatically changed the course of bargaining…..
Although there are hundreds of books about how to negotiate more effectively, the advice they offer is often difficult to apply, for three reasons. First, there are just too many contextual specificities underpinning each negotiation, such that one size does not fit all. Second, the effectiveness of each strategy is partly dependent on the personal background of the negotiators — who they are, what they want, and how they connect. Third, many of the factors determining the outcome of negotiations are more emotional than rational, which requires a deep psychological understanding of the people involved…..