[Marxism] A Major Attack on Labor Rights in the U.S. as the Federal Reserve Makes Another Inflationary Move
mike at unite.org.nz
Mon Dec 24 00:10:46 MST 2012
December 11 brought news of a major new attack on basic labor rights in the
United States. The following day, the Federal Reserve announced new
inflationary measures designed to end the economic stagnation the U.S.
economy has been mired in since the “Great Recession” bottomed out in July
The new attack on labor rights occurred when Michigan Governor Rick Snyder
signed a so-called “right to work” bill in the state that is the home of
the U.S. auto industry. Unlike the attacks in Wisconsin and some other U.S.
states that targeted the labor rights of state employees, the Michigan
legislation—though it affects state employees, with the police being a
significant exception—is clearly aimed at Michigan’s highly unionized
So-called “right to work” laws in the U.S. have absolutely nothing to do
with the right of workers to a job. The leaders of U.S. capitalism
recognize no such right. Rather, under the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947, U.S.
state governments can pass “right to work” laws that outlaw the union shop.
Under a union shop, all workers are required to pay union dues after their
probation period as new hires ends.
Traditionally, such laws have existed in the southern states, with their
long history of slavery and post-slavery apartheid-type Jim Crow
segregation laws. Ultimately, the “right to work” laws of these states,
where unions have always been weak, can be seen as part of the heritage of
slavery itself. However, the passage of such legislation in Michigan, a
northern state that was never a slave state and was at the very center of
the rise of the Congress of Industrial Organizations—CIO—is another matter
Michigan is the home of the United Automobile Workers, the most powerful
industrial union created by the great strike movement of the 1930s. For the
first time since the auto bosses were forced to recognize the UAW, the
passage of this legislation opens up the real possibility that they are
preparing to bust the UAW altogether.
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