Three things for meaningful labour law reform | What's Left

| September 29, 2015

Three things need to be remembered when discussing organizing precarious workers and the labour law reforms needed to support that organizing.

Organizing needs to be funded. The establishment of workplace democracy is taken as a social good. As such, it must pay for itself in the medium term in order to be sustainable. Organizing cannot be an assumed altruistic act by unions. Labour law cannot disincentivize organizing with financial barriers or it is acting to counter the rights it is supposed to facilitate. In fact, there should be incentives that facilitate organizing built into the labour regulatory regime.

Organizing need not be war-like. While much organizing will always be run by dedicated activists, if it is too labour intensive or if the costs on an organizer are too much, organizing will only be done by professional organizers. This is unworkable if the goal is to allow organic growth of workplace democracy. If workers want to associate into a union, they should be able to exercise that Constitutional right with as much ease as a corporation files for a tax credit.

Success should result in real benefits. All stages of organizing must have some specific success. The result of successful organizing and democratization should be real and should have an increased power for workers. If too many attempts at work democratization result in nothing but hollow gains, cynicism and exploitation will be sustained. This means that any actions on behalf of the employer to delay association, bargaining or first contract ratification should be condemned.

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