Anyone who feels that getting protection from their employers is taking away their “rights” will be relieved to learn that the United States Department of Labor, George W. Bush in charge, is racing to the rescue.
On Aug. 21, the DOL web site (www.dol.gov/esa/regs/compliance/olms/CSRApage.htm) published a “final rule” requiring “labor organizations to give members notice of their Civil Service Reform Act rights.”
The document goes on to list a number of complaints that union members might file against their union and provides detailed methods for obtaining government help in attacking their union.
It is truly noble of the government to provide information and encouragement for individual union members to help undermine and destroy the only organizations that might protect them from being crushed by employers.
However — and I offer this as a modest suggestion — it is also helpful that the DOL document can be easily adapted to order the bosses to explain workers’ rights to their employees. For example, it could say that employee rights include, among other things: the right to organize unions, the right to overtime pay, the right to freedom from sexual harassment, the right to dignity on the job, the right to decent pay and benefits, the right to whatever pension and retirement benefit plan the employees were promised when they hired on, the right to workers’ compensation when injured, the right to unemployment compensation when laid off, and on and on.
Everyone is looking forward to the Bush administration’s issuance of such a detailed list of rights and the procedures for obtaining government help in defending those rights.
Jim Lane (email@example.com) is a labor activist in North Texas.