Labor Reform

Sorry for the meta-blogging, but Kevin Drum raises an interesting issue about labor.

Labor is an important issue, but, this blogger believes that labor requires some serious 21st century reforms; not pro-industry reforms, but reforms nonetheless. I plan to make progressive labor reform a central issue in my future writings from Polemic.

Kevin talked about card-counting versus elections, under the Employee Free Choice Act. There are a lot of reasons why this is and isn’t a good idea, but this will probably only be received as a fradu-prone countermeasure to declining union membership.

I believe there are a lot of cases where collective bargaining is a positive thing, and some where it’s not. A great incentive for employers to accept unions would be to allow collectively bargained contracts to trump any provision of wage and hour law, or even any provision of any employment law. Leave the protections in place for unorganized workers, but let the union folks agree to whatever they want, but in exchange, ask for some agility in companies in return. It could work, but you’d have to leave old models behind. Unfortunately, the only reform models I’m aware of are either so sickeningly pro-industry or old-school that they don’t advance the issue at all.

If only it were somehow possible to unite shareholders and employees… (oh, wait! There is!)

The fact is this: there is a strong correlation between historical trends in real wages and union membership.