Labor Party's Call For a Workplace Bill of Rights


WHEREAS, the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution does not protect us against the denial of our rights by private concentrations of power and wealth, and

WHEREAS, we have wrongly come to accept that at work we are not entitled to the rights and privileges we normally enjoy as citizens, and

WHEREAS, private wealth has made sure to convince the Supreme Court that although a corporation is not a living person it is afforded the protections and rights of the Bill of Rights, while living persons at work are denied these same protections; and

WHEREAS, we therefore find that the corporations and Congress through current law have turned democracy exactly backward — 

At work, we are guilty unless proven innocent;

At work, we obey orders upon penalty of discharge;

At work, our most fundamental right, that of free speech, does not apply;

At work, we cannot freely associate with others to protect our interests.

At work, we have to qualify for rights, forced to take extraordinary efforts to win representation elections, gain government certification, and bargain employer recognition of even minimal rights. On the other hand, the corporations are assumed to possess civil rights, do not have to gain such rights, and consequently have more rights under the law than do people, including their "right" to free speech, hold captive meetings of their employees, and express political opinions; and

WHEREAS, working peoples’ efforts to organize unions and bargain collectively is now made, because of the very imbalance in civil rights and economic power, to be extremely difficult in all workplaces and almost impossible in some sectors of the economy; and

WHEREAS, our usual political remedies — calls for labor law "reform" and more efficient regulatory agencies — miss the main point which is that any legislation or agency that seek to restrict a corporate "person’s" freedom will be rejected, and such efforts have in fact failed miserably under both Democratic and Republican Party administrations; and 

WHEREAS, in Japan, Canada and throughout Europe, the very countries who are our trading partners, competitors and national peers, there already exists long-standing methods that recognize civil rights at work, including those for forming unions, bargaining collectively, and otherwise dealing with the employers; and finally

WHEREAS, million of U.S. workers are AT THIS MOMENT anxious and willing to form unions and bargain with their employers over matters of concern, and are ready to add their huge numbers to our union ranks. In other countries comparable to the United States, these workers would be free to speak, associate, organize unions and bargain with their employees;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT:

1.The Labor Party rejects the status quo of today’s workplace where workers are forced to abandon their Constitutional Rights in order to earn their living, and are as a consequence subject to the tyranny of the corporation. 

2.The Labor Party demands that workers have the actual right to concerted activity, free from employer involvement or interference, and that any number of interested workers in a workplace must have the right to form a union and bargain with their employer. 

3.The Labor Party insists that all workers must have the ability to exercise their rights to concerted activity irrespective of job titles and
responsibilities; citizenship status; method of payment; or sector of the economy in which employed.

4.The Labor Party holds that workers, including workfare, contingent, part-time, temporary, and contract workers, must have the right to bargain over the terms and conditions of their labor with the employer(s) who controls or influences their work environment irrespective of ownership title.

5.The Labor Party insists upon the restoration of all rights to free association including the voluntary joining together to redress grievances by strikes, economic boycotts, sympathy actions, "hot cargo" agreements, and common situs picketing.

6.The Labor Party rejects limits on subjects upon which employees and unions may bargain with employers;

7.In order for this Campaign to be advanced, the Labor Party commits itself to:

A.Popularize this Campaign through Labor Party communications and with unions affiliated to the Labor Party,

B.Select a state in which to develop a state-based campaign to reform state labor relations laws and statutes in accordance with the above principles,

C.Select a state which presently does not permit collective bargaining rights for public employees in which to develop a state-based
campaign for rights in accordance with the above principles.

D.Select a city or other location in which to popularize, build support around, and in other ways make real the Labor Party’s campaign to
bring the Bill of Rights into the workplace.

E.Conduct educational work within the trade union movement helping all of us to rethink what we mean by workplace rights, to learn what is the practice in other countries similar to the United States and how the current imbalance between corporations and individual rights has evolved in our own country, and how the Labor Party proposes to change this.

F.The Labor Party supports the formation of committees of fired workers wherever possible to organize and support their fight for workers’ rights.

Visit the Kansas City Area Labor Party site.