Blog Posts: Cooperative Workforce
Two new pieces of legislation – swiftly passed and taking many by surprise – made Michigan the 24th state to enact right to work laws. These new laws require that payment of union dues must be voluntary and that union membership must not be made a condition of employment.
A Wisconsin court reinstated the right for the state’s city, county and school employees to engage in collective bargaining. The county court decision overturned a March 2011 law, often called the “anti-union law,” which had prohibited government employers from collective bargaining with unions for any issues except wages. The decision does not affect state employees, who were not a party to the lawsuit.
The court found that parts of the law violated employees’ constitutional rights of free speech and free association. The state Attorney General plans to appeal.
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) recently launched a website aimed at educating nonunion workers about their rights to engage in concerted activities – that is, their rights to act together for mutual aid and protection. Although only about 5% of the NLRB’s recent caseload involved nonunion concerted activity, the Board is “actively seeking new cases as a means to educate employees about their rights and the availability of the Board's processes to remedy violations,” according to an analysis from Duane Morris, LLP.
The number of unionized workers in the United States increased slightly in 2011, according to a recent report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, halting a long-term trend of declining union membership.