“A Civil Right to Unionize”

In the March 1, 2012 New York Times, on the opinion page, two men — Richard D. Kahlenberg and Moshe Z. Marvit, authors of “Why Labor Organizing Should Be a Civil Right: Rebuilding a Middle-Class Democracy by Enhancing Worker Voice” — wrote a plangent, lucid history of unions in this country, and a call for a new law supporting the right to unionize:

It’s time to add the right to organize a labor union, without employer discrimination, to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act…

Later on, they describe how such a law would work, and in doing so, they cite the process of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission:

The Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, has much stronger penalties and procedures than labor laws. Under our proposal, complaints about wrongful terminations for union organizing could still go through the National Labor Relations Board, which has expertise in this field. But the board would employ the procedures currently used by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which provide that after 180 days, a plaintiff can move his or her case from the administrative agency to federal court. [My emphasis.]

I’m aware that a number of people find Sidebar via a search for information on the EEOC, so I quoted the above as further support for this excellent government agency. Indeed, two experts in unions and law are using it as a model for a law and process they are proposing.

And for anyone depressed about the state of American unionization, do read the whole piece. It’s inspiring, a call to arms. A Civil Right to Unionize – NYTimes.com.

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