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“You’re Fired!”

The Boss has spoken and, for most American workers, that’s the end of the story.  Proving race-based discrimination – or other forms of bias depending on what state you’re in – could get your job back but that’s not easy and takes a long time.

Without an individual contract, civil service or union protection you’re what’s called an “At Will” employee.  And it’s not your will which determines your fate, it’s the employers’.

In fact, the United States is alone among “advanced” nations which allow the boss to dismiss workers for any reason at all.  The best-known remedy to unilateral employer power is “Just Cause” provisions in union contracts, enforced through the grievance procedure.

Now, a Boston-based union organizer has a plan to expand Just Cause protection to nonunion American workers.

A state-by-state campaign to provide workers the right to a fair hearing when they’re fired would, according to Rand Wilson, do much more than reform employment law.  “It would be a first step,” he says, “on the road to winning full collective bargaining rights.”

A Just Cause movement would:

Shift power away from employers and put workers in a stronger position to fight for better pay and benefits

Expand the role of unions in nonunion workplaces

Give workers more confidence to form unions

Finally, says Wilson, a founding director of Massachusetts Jobs with Justice and currently on staff at SEIU Local 888, “even if campaigns for just cause do not succeed, millions of nonunion workers will learn about the concept, especially if campaigns are based on ballot referendums, and the increased security it could bring to their lives.”

Many good ideas and grand concepts have been developed over the past several decades by activists and strategists, dedicated to “revitalizing” the Labor Movement.

Here’s another one to think about.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (9+ / 0-)

    Lou Siegel is a Labor educator and consultant, working with Los Angeles unions in communications, public policy and fundraising

    by laborlou on Sun Apr 20, 2014 at 12:29:08 PM PDT

  •  Montana is the only state that has this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hnichols, allie4fairness

    currently, and I'd be curious to learn about how things are different there.

    The first man who, having enclosed a piece of land, took it into his head to say, "This is mine," and found people simple enough to believe him, was the true founder of civil society. - Rousseau, Discourse on Inequality Among Men

    by James Allen on Sun Apr 20, 2014 at 01:24:39 PM PDT

  •  My former employer (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    allie4fairness, unfangus

    just walked in one day and let me go. He said he had found someone "better suited" to the job. He repeatedly told me this separation was not based on performance. I'm guessing this "better suited" person is quite a bit younger than me (I'm 65). Of course there is no way in hell for me to prove age discrimination.

    With unions completely neutered, businesses are now holding all the cards and they are maximizing this advantage to the hilt.

  •  We have some of the weakest labor laws of the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    allie4fairness

    OECD nations, and that is coupled with a nearly universal refusal to enforce them by those charged with enforcing them.

    We are (have become?) little more than donkeys to be beaten and abused until we are no longer useful at which point we become less than donkeys, because there are laws against abandoning animals to die of starvation and exposure.

    We work harder, longer, under worse conditions, for much less than any of our contemporaries.

    Worst of all (IMO) is that most of us are just fine with that.

    "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

    by Greyhound on Sun Apr 20, 2014 at 07:13:41 PM PDT

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