If workers do succeed in unionizing, as a little over one-third of wage and salary workers did between 1935 and 1945, then there’s one kind of contract that corporations really came to despise in the 1960s and 1970s. It’s one that runs for several years and has an annual cost-of-living-adjustment (“COLA”) built into it. Employers dislike COLA’s because they create inflationary spirals if some separate factor, such as increased demand for products, or unexpected increases in the cost of raw materials, triggers inflation. When there’s no COLA, inflation is partly tamed by holding wages steady, or even cutting them, but employers can’t do that when there are COLA’s.
The final version of the act that emerged from the compromises within the conference committee was not as restrictive for unions as the House bill fashioned by Landrum and Griffin had been. But the outcome was primarily a defeat for unions nonetheless because it strengthened the regulation of internal union affairs by government officials far more than AFL-CIO leaders desired and added the restraints on secondary boycotts and roving pickets discussed earlier in this section. However, the impact of these defeats was obscured by the fact that the new legislation had no immediate negative effects for the large established unions that practiced some semblance of internal democracy. Instead, its impact was more serious for the long run because it made organizing new unions much more difficult, especially in smaller industries, and particularly in the South. In any event, the head of the CIO believed he had solid information on this issue from informants, including Communist union leaders who refused to accept the CP directive, so he began the process of eliminating Communists from the union movement for backing a third party. This decision was the beginning of the end for the Communist Party in terms of any influence within the CIO, but it also deprived the CIO of activists and organizers that were useful to the union movement when they were not following Soviet foreign policy directives.
- In the fall, he returns to Chicago, sometimes employed, sometimes a tramp.
- A 1922 graduate of Harvard Law School, Ervin orchestrated public hearings beginning in late March 1968, through a very unusual venue.
- Union contracts make it difficult for employers to make quick, major decisions or changes, and unions can limit the turnover rate of employees so that employers can’t hire as many people and fewer workers will be able to get jobs.
- The LLRG’s main legal counsel (i.e., main lobbyist) for the Congressional phase of the campaign was a Washington lawyer who had worked on the Landrum-Griffin Act with other corporate lawyers, first as the general counsel to the House labor committee, then as a White House liaison to Congress.
More recent research shows that errors in the data used to estimate wages caused these estimates to understate the true difference. Estimates that correct these errors show that the average union member earns between 20 percent and 25 percent more than similar non-union workers. Non-union workers at Honda and Toyota plants now produce high-quality cars at lower prices than are possible in Detroit. As consumers have voted with their feet, the Detroit automakers have been brought to the brink of bankruptcy.
What Did Labor Unions Do For America?
1967 – 1967 Philadelphia riot, June 11, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, began after a dispute involving a rug. Bottle and brick dellinger auto throwing were reported in an African-American neighborhood and 4 police officers were injured. 1967 – 1967 Massillion riot, April 17, Massillon, Ohio, 17 arrests were made as black and white teenagers fought each other. Public pressure led to the passage of the Meat Inspection Act and the Pure Food and Drug Act; the latter established the Bureau of Chemistry . Buck Halloran, an Irish “political worker” who oversees vote-buying operations. After recovering from his injury, Jurgis takes the least desirable job at a fertilizer mill.
Today, it is at an all-time high since tracking began over 50 years ago, based on Census Bureau data. Research shows that as much as $50 trillion has migrated into the coffers of the top 1% of income earners in the U.S., an upward redistribution of wealth that has squeezed out the middle class. Unions became popular in the U.S. starting in the 1930s, with membership rising from just over 10% of the eligible working population in 1936 to about a third by the mid-1950s, according to 2021 research published in the Quarterly Journal of Economics.
Unions Promote Equality
Nixon then turned to the remedy favored by the Construction Users Anti-Inflation Roundtable, a suspension of the Davis-Bacon Act in February 1971. The suspension ended a month later with the trade unions agreeing to a new Construction Industry Stabilization Committee, “whose task it was to abate wage increases to something like the rate that had prevailed from 1961 to 1968” (Marchi 1975, p. 332). All settlements would have to be approved first by craft-level dispute boards and then by the new industry stabilization committee. Although union membership in the private sector declined during the 1960s, that fact was cold comfort for the corporate community. As a consequence, reducing union power became the primary concern for both moderates and ultraconservatives in the corporate community by 1968, whether the immediate issue was inflation, wage rates, profit margins, or foreign trade.
Major Defeats For Unions: 1970
If a union decides against exclusive monopoly bargaining, choosing instead to negotiate only on behalf of its own members, it is not required to represent non-members. In that case only the members with a signed contract are required to pay dues and the union negotiates only for those members. In practice unions almost always seek exclusive representation status, since it gives them a monopoly position in the workplace. Another study found that “incomes rise following the passage of right-to-work laws, even after adjusting for substantial population growth that those laws also induce. Right-to-work states tend to be vibrant and growing; non-right-to-work states tend to be stagnant and aging…the overall effect of a right-to-work law is to increase economic growth rates by 11.5%”.
Dynamite attacks at many construction sites across the country, and on the Los Angeles Times’ entire building, by what turned out to be apolitical but militant members of the bridge and structural ironworkers’ union, were of particular surprise and concern. In reaction, President William Howard Taft sponsored legislation to create a Commission on Industrial Relations to examine the causes of industrial unrest and labor sabotage, which resulted in further legitimation for the collective bargaining agreements sought by the AFL. Within this limited perspective, the NCF and other corporate moderates seemed to be having at least some success in their first two years. Leaders in the new employers’ associations not only signed agreements with their workers, but spoke favorably of the NCF and its work. None was in a major mass-production industry, however, and the new era did not last very long. As the unions’ membership grew and they began making more demands, the employers’ dislike of unions resurfaced accordingly.