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Labor Law Needs An Overhaul To Protect Workers


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2148131Washington Examiner:

When Congress approved the National Labor Relations Act (aka the Wagner Act) in 1935, it reformed and updated federal labor law to reflect the harsh realities of the American workplace at the mid-point of the Great Depression. Thanks to the Wagner Act, the labor movement was so strengthened that when union membership in the private sector of the economy reached its apogee in 1953, great industries like steel, railroads, autos and mining were dominated by Big Labor. But even then, barely more than a third of all private sector workers were union members. By the time the 21st century dawned, fewer than 10 percent of private sector workers belonged to unions.


It's been a different story in the public sector, which has been fertile ground for powerhouse unions, including the American Federation of Government Employees, National Education Association and American Federation of Teachers, and American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. Today, these Big Labor giants represent nearly 40 percent of all public employees and make up more than half of all unionized workers in the country. Being unionized puts these public employees in adversarial relationships with the taxpayers who fund their paychecks.



Only 23 states have right-to-work laws that protect workers who choose not to join unions, and federal employees are not even covered by these laws. The result is effectively a union shop for most public workplaces. But before unions win over a majority of government workers, Congress should quickly pass new legislation to update federal labor laws and regulations, much as the Wagner Act did in 1935. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Rep. Tim Scott, R-S.C., have introduced just such a bill, the Employee Rights Act of 2012.Scissors-32x32.png

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