Impact of Elections
Brothers, Sisters, and Kin:
On June 12, IATSE presented a webinar entitled "The Impact of Elections on Labor Law, Unions and Their Members". For those of you who were not able to watch this event live, here is a summary of the most important points in the webinar as regards our union.
Most importantly, our members need to remember that many of the things that we have fought for at the negotiating table can be lost at the ballot box. In line with this, we need to remember that when we vote for a candidate, we are not just voting for that person, of whom we may have a favorable or unfavorable opinion (or no opinion), we are also voting for that person's agenda, the agenda of their political party, AND all of the people they bring into their administration.
Labor rights reached their pinnacle with the passage of the National Labor Relations Act of 1935, which established the right of workers to organize and limited the tactics employers could use to oppose unionization. Since that time, there has been a steady erosion in worker's rights, which has led to an erosion in union membership.
In the past two decades anti-union efforts have intensified. For example, the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act was passed in 1959, and remained nearly unchanged for 40 years. Then, reporting and disclosure requirements for unions were expanded in 2002, 2003, 2005, 2008, and 2017. Compliance costs for the average union local for the expansion in reporting requirements proposed by the current administration, which will take effect if the current President is re-elected, are expected to be between $16,000 and $24,000.
In comparison to this, corporations and workplaces have seen a reduction in regulations. For instance, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which is charged with ensuring a safe workplace for workers, no longer requires employers to file a report when a workplace accident occurs.
Employers have also benefited from the appointment of friendly judges and regulators. For instance, the Supreme Court case of Janus v. AFSCME essentially made all public sector unions in the United States "Right to Work." A more recent administrative decision from the National Labor Relations Board allows employers to cease the collection of union dues during the negotiation of a collective bargaining agreement if the old one has expired, effectively allowing an employer to hold a union's finances hostage during contract negotiations.
My understanding is that there has been a recording made of the webinar that will hopefully be made available to our members soon as an on-demand streaming video. If so, I encourage all of you to take the opportunity to watch it.
The most important thing that all of us can do is VOTE! Make sure you are registered, and make sure you have a plan for casting your ballot, whether by absentee or on election day. While no one can know how you voted, IF you voted is a public record, and no politician will take us seriously if our members don't vote. VOTE, VOTE, VOTE!