The twentieth century witnessed major evolutions in the American workplace, from mass production, to automation, and all the way to the digital economy we know now. Workers' lives have evolved similarly, mostly gaining from the benefits during the century. American workers mostly have their unions to thank. Yet figures show that union membership is falling, which is precisely what Justin Wilson was alluding to when he declared in the NY Times: Labor union membership is an outdated concept for most working Americans. The fact that Wilson, as managing director of the Center for Union Facts, is a strong opponent of unions should not distract from this fact. However, is this decline, as Wilson puts it, really linked to the American workers considering union membership an outdated concept, or are there other factors at stake? Will the Employee Free Choice Act, which President Obama supported and still supports, be the answer to this situation? This essay will first of all examine the outdated character of the concept, before focusing on the Act in itself and its provisions. It will then be possible to address the issue of the efficiency of the Act.
Labor unions played a major role in the history of American workers. The AFL and the CIO used to be forces to reckon with earlier. Union membership reached a peak in 1958, with 30% of all workers unionized. The Thirties, Forties and Fifties were like a union golden age. Besides high membership, they obtained the first minimum wage in 1938, as well as the forty-hour week, both major steps for American workers. Major breakthroughs were also made in 1970, when the Occupational Safety and Health Act was passed.
[...] It should be remembered, however, that there were already union laws in the US. The National Labor Relations Act, passed in 1935, aimed at limiting employers' resistance to unionization. So in theory, American workers are already free to join unions. The Employee Free Choice Act was initially pushed for by the Democrats, among who was the soon-to-become President Obama, who still supports the bill. The Act aims at making three important provisions: an employer could not, as it currently can, demand an additional ballot when a majority of workers have already signed cards expressing their desire for a union. [...]
[...] Trade Unions in the US Essay: In a press article from the New York Times, Justin Wilson declares: 'labor union membership is an outdated concept for most working Americans". Do you agree with this assertion? Would the voting of the Employee Free Choice Act be a solution to fight against this trend? The twentieth century witnessed major evolutions in the American workplace, from mass production, to automation, and all the way to the digital economy we know now. Workers' lives have evolved similarly, mostly gaining from the benefits during the century. [...]
[...] The number is now even smaller, with, according to the US Chamber of Commerce, only of unionized workers in the American private sector. The Bureau of Labor Statistics acknowledges a total of 12% unionized workers. According to the Bureau, union membership underwent a decline of 10% in 2009. This data seems to validate Wilson's “outdated” claim. But are the reasons behind this decline only to be found in employees' disdain of unions? The reality is more complex. Industrial states like Ohio or Michigan were homes to some major auto, steel or mining firms. [...]
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