Labor’s Troubles

Labor’s Troubles

When they passed legislation mandating their own compliance with federal labor laws in the first hundred days of the congressional term,
Republican leaders already knew that in the next hundred they would begin the systematic dismantling of federal labor law. It’s surprising that neither the media nor Democratic party officials called them on this. They need only have glancedat the record of officials who preside over the committees that oversee labor law, who range in their union-friendly voting record from a mere 7 percent for Representative Harris Fawell of Illinois (whose subcommittee has jurisdiction over health and pension issues) to a whopping 27 percent for Representative William Goodling of Pennsylvania, chair of the Economic and Educational Opportunities Committee.

The Republicans moved swiftly to implement their agenda, which includes repeal of Davis- Bacon—legislation that for six decades has guaranteed
that building-trades wages on federal or federally assisted construction projects cannot fall below the prevailing union rate in an area—an to federally mandated safety and health regulations and monies for health and safety inspection, elimination of the forty-hour work week to allow for overtime work without compensation, repeal of the minimum wage, and the repeal of a section of the Wagner-era labor regulations called Section 8(a)2, which forbids companies from setting
up union-like mechanisms in the workplace that are company dominated and financed. This last item was introduced in a bill called the TEAM
Act at a kickoff rally in Washington sponsored by the Labor Policy Association (founded in 1939 by CEOs whose aim was the dismemberment of
the National Labor Relations Act), the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the National Association of Manufacturers.

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Wurgraft | University of California Press Lima