Union Advantage: The Case for Organized Labor and Democracy in the Workplace


| September 5, 2001

Union Advantage: The Case for Organized Labor and Democracy in the Workplace, David Kusnet, Tom Paine.com
This weekend marked Labor Day, which we vaguely understand as a day to celebrate workers. Yet how many of us know the state of workers' rights in the U.S. today? According to David Kusnet, a former speechwriter for President Clinton and staffer for the AFL-CIO, conditions for workers and labor unions are far worse than many of us realize. In Tom Paine.Com, Kusnet notes that a mere 16 percent of the American workforce now belong to labor unions. The reason is not, as corporations and conservatives would have us believe, that workers no longer want to organize. Unions have long proven their ability to improve worker wages and benefits. The real reason for low union participation today is company intimidation. Workers attempting to form unions are often threatened, coerced, or even fired. Kusnet muses that if Tom Paine, the great working class hero and revolutionary, were alive on Labor Day 2001, he might remind us how much ground we've lost in the fight for workers' rights.
--Lila Kitaeff
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