By Bill Fletcher, Jr.Graduate students have been attempting to organize labor unions for decades. Until recently, those at private universities and colleges have been blocked from unionizing largely due to a Supreme Court decision from 1980, NLRB v Yeshiva University, that placed graduate students into the camp of managerial personnel and, therefore, ineligible for unionization and collective bargaining. The National Labor Relations Board has shifted the entire discussion with a decision affecting Columbia University graduate students. Just recently, Yale University students filed a petition for union recognition.
By Bill Fletcher, Jr.I was driving to a meeting listening to the news this morning and a special segment was announced. It was described as a discussion on the Supreme Court’s decision on “union dues.” The second time that I heard this promo I stopped my car and called the station. Though I did not reach a human being, I left a pointed message to the effect that this case—Friedrichs v California Teachers Association—was NOT about union dues. So, if it was not about union dues, what was it about and why would the news station make such a basic error?
Unions are designed to oppose favoritism and to set work and salary standards, not to impede advancement. They provide a structure to promote fair decisions, creating a climate that depends less on an employer’s attitude and more on objectivity.
Bill Fletcher, Jr. on how working Americans and unions have lost touch with each other, and what might be done to turn that around.
In honor of Labor Day, Bill Fletcher Jr. answers a few questions about the place of unions in America today.
A new book debunks twenty-one of the most common myths and misconceptions about labor in the United States.
The words of Frederick Douglass on the meaning of Independence Day continues to hold meaning for many who find it hard to embrace the holiday.