“This has been a terrible 18 months-plus for working people in this country,” said Celine McNicholas, director of labor law and policy at the Economic Policy Institute. “It’s an unprecedented attack on workers.”
Charges have been filed against Cowboys owner Jerry Jones to the National Labor Relations Board in Fort Worth, after he made statements threatening to bench players who did not stand for the national anthem.
A new Republican-controlled National Labor Relations Board could roll back pro-union decisions dating back decades. This could be devastating to already weakened unions. With private sector union membership hovering at a dismal 6.4 percent – down from about 17 percent in 1983 – nothing short of the end of the labor movement could be at stake.
The complaint is part of a lengthy battle over the NLRB's recognition of the vote by roughly 160 skilled workers at VW's Chattanooga plant in Tennessee to be represented by the United Auto Workers union.
The German automaker has argued against allowing a small group within the plant to have union representation, maintaining that all 1,500 hourly workers should be treated as one unit.
“The original, Southern desire to preserve an exploited, economically deprived non-white agricultural labor force pinned to the bottom of the social and economic hierarchy continues to manifest itself full force,” Law Professor Juan Perea of Loyola University said. “The only difference today is now it’s brown and black people.”
As far as labor leaders are concerned, former Labor Sectary Hilda Solis and her successor, Tom Perez, have delivered. "President Obama has been a good president for working people," AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka says. Since his days as a community organizer in Chicago, Obama has had close relations with labor unions, and organizations such as the Service Employees International Union were among his earliest and most vocal supporters when he ran for president in 2008.
The National Labor Relations Board's decision on Columbia University graduate students seeking to unionize only applies to private colleges. Organizing rights for graduate students at public colleges depend on each state's labor laws. Graduate students have formed unions in more than a dozen states.
On January 29th, Uber had reduced fares in more than eighty cities in the U.S. and Canada. Drivers in some of those cities, including San Francisco, San Diego, Tampa, and New York City, have reacted with strikes and protests.
As more states feel they’ve been put at a competitive disadvantage by their right-to-work neighbors, the pressure only increases to follow suit and enact their own right-to-work laws. And after a while, a national right-to-work law might not be far behind.
“I suspect that will happen within the next decade,” says Marquita Walker, an associate professor of labor studies at Indiana University.