In the 2012 presidential elections, the nation's unions have an opportunity to remedy a gross injustice to American workers. While our society permits bankers, industrialists, lawyers, and politicians to form their own organizations for their own benefit, working people face intimidating obstacles when they try to form or join a union to improve their lives.
Why should workers be subjected to harassment and possible loss of jobs, if they so much as dare to talk about joining a union? Why does our government do so little to punish violators of worker rights?
Republican governors and their state legislatures are enacting dozens of anti-labor laws, whose aim is to destroy or cripple unions. If they succeed in destroying unions, who will defend working people?
American labor should use the 2012 elections to launch a massive nationwide campaign to guarantee that workers will have the same basic rights as those accorded to other segments of the population
Ask Every Candidate to Sign the Petition on Worker Rights
The AFL-CIO should prepare a petition listing these rights, and request that every Republican, Democratic and independent candidate be asked to sign it. Unions should distribute tons of literature to explain why workers, like everyone else, are entitled to certain fundamental rights.
It should be obvious that, if the AFL-CIO wants to advance from its weakened and defensive position, it will have to start recruiting tens of thousands of unorganized workers. By winning a federal law guaranteeing workers' rights to organize without intimidation, it will be enlarging the pool of potential union members.
The AFL-CIO and its union affiliates will be spending hundred of millions of dollars to elect Barack Obama to a second term as president. It would be considered a great victory if the Democrats regained control of both houses of Congress. But will that increase union membership or strengthen their bargaining power?