The Green Party of California (GPCA) believes that the right to belong to an independent, democratic, member-run, labor union is a fundamental human right, and that the widespread existence of such unions is vital to ensure a more democratic and just society.
Furthermore, the right to belong to a labor union is upheld in the United States Constitution by the First Amendment guarantee of free speech and association and the 13th Amendment ban on involuntary servitude, as well as by international conventions which the United States is obligated to follow due to its membership in the International Labor Organization, a branch of the United Nations.
The GPCA believes that the Union Bill of Rights as set forth in the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act should act as the starting point to assure the direct and democratic control of unions by their rank and file members.
In order to promote democratic unionism, the Green Party of California supports:
Repeal of the Taft-Hartley Act and "right-to-work" laws that restrict the right to organize unions.
Union rights for public sector, railway, and agriculture employees.
Legislation to allow all American based workers to join the independent union of their choice through a "card-check" sign-up procedure.
Legislation to require all American controlled companies to accept the presence of independent unions through a "card-check" sign up procedure in any other country where the company operates.
Legislation to prohibit foreign controlled companies from doing business in the United States if they do not respect the right of their workers to belong to a union WITH ALL
Elimination of all legal provisions in treaties or laws, and of all financial incentives that encourage American-based employers to relocate in other countries.
Legislation to prohibit American owned companies from subcontracting with any company in the United States or abroad that refuses to respect the right of its workers to belong to an independent union in a fashion consistent with this labor platform.
The continued and secure existence of a fully government funded social security system
An end to privatization of government provided social services.
True universal/single-payer health care that is government paid and based on need, not profit, regardless of work status, in order to provide quality and affordable health care for all and to remove health care as a corporate union busting tool.
Union access to company financial records for bargaining purposes.
Union representation on corporate boards.
Legislation to guarantee to employees and communities advance warning of no less than 6 months of plant closures, mergers, or buy-outs.
Legislation to guarantee that every employee who loses his/her job due to a company merger or change of ownership will receive company help to get a job elsewhere.
Legislation to assure union recognition and union contracts following a company merger or change of ownership.
Legislation to facilitate workers and/or communities taking over plants and forming employee-owned businesses and cooperatives before and after plant closure.
Strong legal consequences for American companies that interfere directly or indirectly with the right of workers to belong to a union either in the United States or abroad.
Labor Organizing Strategies
The GPCA believes that union membership in the United States has plummeted due to an ongoing corporate backlash against democratic unionism since union membership peaked in the late 1940's. The backlash has also produced declining labor organization influence over both major political parties, and has also resulted in the loss of, and serious threat to, vital "social wages" acquired through past labor struggles. To bring attention to the social injustice caused by the backlash and to reverse its effect, the GPCA wishes to work in tandem with labor unions.
Some issues of common interest may be:
The direct and democratic control of unions by their rank and file members.
"Business unionism" versus democratic unionism.
Grass-roots organizing (long abandoned by mainstream organized labor)
Alternative forms of labor organizing that unite workers across traditional workplace boundaries and class structure
Establishing international labor networks to coordinate responses to multi-national corporations.
Joint worker control of plant occupational and environmental health and safety with the operating company.
Labor Unions and the Environment
The GPCA recognizes the need to strive for a holistic approach to improving the quality of worker life by respecting the inextricable link between workplace or living environments and the natural environment. Society should not have to choose between job protection and environmental protection, but there must be a "just transition" for workers adjusting to a new environmentally friendly economy. In order to accomplish that goal, environmentalists and labor activists must join together in common cause through (but not limited to) the following actions:
By treating poverty as both a social and environmental issue
By combining environmental protection with job protection.
Supporting a "just transition" (with no loss of income or benefits and with training) to other jobs for workers who lose their employment. This transition should be funded through the tax base and from fines on corporate polluters.
Use of public funds to invest in businesses that produce non-polluting, renewable and efficient energy systems and labor friendly jobs.
Create political alliances between labor and environmental advocacy groups to offset the political influence of the fossil fuel industry.
The GPCA recognizes the need to provide public programs to educate the general public about labor issues to counter-balance anti-union propaganda of the news media and other bastions of corporate power. Therefore, the GPCA supports:
Fully funded labor studies programs at universities that are designed to research all aspects of unionism including democratic unionism.
Labor studies classes provided at all grade levels in our public schools.
Outreach to schools at all grade levels and to community organizations for the purpose of educating the public about labor unions.