The Progress Report
December 10, 2003
by David Sirota, Christy Harvey and Judd Legum
To read the complete report, please
click on-- http://www.americanprogress.org/AccountTempFiles/cf/%7BE9245FE4-9A2B-43C7-A521-5D6FF2E06E03%7D/031210.HTM
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THE RIGHTS PROBLEM AT HOME: Looking at the record at home, the Administration's human/labor rights dealings with China –
or lack thereof – may not be such a surprise after all. As Mark Weisbrot of the Center for Economic and Policy Research notes, the labor movement is under attack by the White House here at home.
He says, "unions in the United States find themselves increasingly having to fight for their very existence." Currently, "Employers
can refuse to negotiate for years with a union even after it is recognized, effectively negating their legal obligation to
bargain. And while they can't legally fire workers for striking, they can hire 'permanent replacements' -- a distinction without
much difference." For its part, the Bush Administration has stood idly by while this happens, and acted in areas it could
inflict more damage. Within weeks of taking office, Bush issued four separate anti-union executive orders. Later into his term, the President gutted workplace safety/ergonomic rules and restricted overtime rights for workers. ...
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Center for Economic and Policy Research
Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services - December 8, 2003
America's Hidden Human Rights Problem: Freedom of Association
by Mark Weisbrot
To read the complete article,
click on-- http://www.cepr.net/columns/weisbrot/Right_to_organize.htm [This link was found on the CEPR's website through
a Google search on 3/21/04]
"Unions -- the Folks Who Brought You the Weekend," reads a popular union T-shirt. It's true enough -- and we could add
a sizeable list of other benefits that most people associate with social progress: employer-sponsored health insurance, pensions,
and paid vacations.
But unions in the United States find themselves increasingly having to fight for their very existence. This week, on International
Human Rights Day (December 10) thousands of union members and their allies around the country will demonstrate for the right
This is something that was supposedly established here in 1935 during the New Deal. But this right has been so eroded in
recent decades that -- to the disgrace of the world's richest democracy -- it hardly exists at all.
That was the conclusion of a 213-page report by Human Rights Watch, one of the world's largest human rights organizations,
written three years ago. And it keeps getting worse. Tens of thousands of workers are fired each year for joining or attempting
to organize a union, in violation of U.S. law. But the penalties for employers are so slight that they have what Human Rights
Watch calls "a culture of near impunity."
Employers can also refuse to negotiate for years with a union even after it is recognized, effectively negating their legal
obligation to bargain. And while they can't legally fire workers for striking, they can hire "permanent replacements" -- a
distinction without much difference. ...
Mark Weisbrot is Co-Director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research (www.cepr.net), in
December 10--international Human Rights Day--Mobilization to Restore the Freedom to
Form Unions and Bargain Collectively
August 05, 2003
read the complete article, click here-- http://www.aflcio.org/aboutaflcio/ecouncil/ec08052003h.cfm
On December 10, 1948 Eleanor Roosevelt
and delegates from over 80% of United Nations member states adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Declaration forms the cornerstone of the modern human rights movement. It
sets forth the inalienable economic, social, civil and political rights of every human being.
The Declaration serves as both benchmark and beacon. It measures how well human
rights are respected and protected, and it lights the path to a better world.
Workers・rights are an integral
part of the Declaration, which states unequivocally that 兎veryone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and
association,・and 兎veryone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.・SPAN
style="mso-spacerun: yes"> The Declaration recognizes the freedom of
workers to organize and bargain as fundamental human rights, on par with and deserving of the same protection as others such
as freedom of speech and religion.
Despite the lofty words of the Declaration
and the protections theoretically provided under U.S. law, the sad truth is that here in the wealthiest and most powerful
nation on earth, working men and women lack the freedom to form unions and bargain collectively today, and the situation is
getting worse, not better. When workers seek to exercise this right they nearly always
run into a buzz saw of intimidation, coercion and disinformation that suppress their rights with devastating effectiveness. ...
people and the nation as a whole are paying a heavy price for the suppression of the freedom to form unions. Collective bargaining is a vital public good that makes for a more just, equal, and democratic society. When it is suppressed, wages lag, inequality and poverty grow, race and gender pay gaps
widen, society痴 safety net is strained, civic and political participation is undermined and a crucial counterweight
against unbridled corporate power is weakened. The bottom line: millions of U.S. workers
want collective bargaining but are denied it in a wholesale violation of human rights that leaves them and the nation worse
Copyright © 2003 AFL-CIO