The law can win in states
The concentration at the federal level distracts from opportunities that are closer to home.
Organize Right is a regular column that doesn’t deal so much with organizing: how the right does how the left does, lessons from its history and its implications for the present day.
After the House passed the PRO Act, Conservative opinion largely mimicked the arguments we Californians heard in the campaign for our Proposal 22 last fall. Prop 22 exempted app-based services like ridesharing and grocery delivery from Assembly Bill 5. who had tried to classify their workers (along with many other freelancers and gig workers) as white-collar workers.
The first reason so many people are copying the Prop 22 campaign is because the Prop 22 campaign was successful. The second is that like Prop 22, the people behind the campaign are less people who work as freelancers and gig workers, and more people who hire freelancers and gig workers. (This is also why Prop 22 is a limited success at best. California has a veto referendum, so prop 22 supporters through the tech company could just as easily have turned it into a referendum on the full repeal of AB5, rather than just to make a close exception. but instead they opted for a close outsourcing to benefit themselves, the idiots.)
The third is that conservatives tend to focus on big concepts that people who like us already agree with. We like to talk about the importance of ideas, but we suck in certain grunt work like reading laws and explaining to our people what’s in them and why it sucks. We only sell people what they can already buy. Conservatives are currently talking about freelancers and are likely to look at the right to work as the bill contains a provision aimed at abolishing the right to work across the country. The downside to this narrow focus is the risk that our lazy Conservative Congressmen will tend to tackle a topic or two at best and label it a day. This would be a serious mistake as the PRO Act would not only change collective bargaining in the workplace. It creates real power for radical union work.
The best breakdown of the PRO Act is labor lawyer Brandon Mangan, who wrote it down in detail in his newsletter and broken it down in an interview for Jacobin. There are many things that make union organization easier and union organization difficult. To sum up just a few of the things Mangan sets out to do, the PRO Act increases the power of the NLRB by authorizing harsh civil sanctions and gives NLRB orders the power of law unless a court decides otherwise (previously were for NLRB measures legal action required) become legally enforceable). Management is personally liable for civil sanctions resulting from unfair labor practices. And it provides protection from whistleblowers for employees who share information about employers with the union, the Department of Labor, or any government agency.
The PRO Act is an amazing wish list of items that the most radical union supporters have long dreamed of – as Mangan notes, some of these items did not advance as individual legislation, and now they are all bundled together. PRO Law allows voting on union formation not only in the workplace but also in another place, including by post, online or electronically. The law allows illegal immigrants to receive NLRB premiums for back payments (they were previously ineligible). It legalizes or extends protection to techniques such as intermittent strikes, slowdown strikes, and partial strikes, which are easier and cheaper for a union to conduct than a full strike, thereby improving the unions’ ability to put pressure on employers. When the PRO Act becomes law, unions will also get back weapons that have been banned from them since 1947: secondary boycotts, strikes in the judiciary, and pickets for recognition. They also have the option to include essentially secondary boycotts in their collective agreements with employers so that the other companies whose workers are represented by the union cannot use or handle any of Company A’s products in the event of a labor dispute with Company A (Manganese notes that the Teamsters had a lot of fun with this technique until it was banned in 1959).
However, this is not a “We Must Beat the PRO Act” piece – although we should. It’s also not a piece of “PRO Act reporting sucks” – although it does. Instead, let’s turn it around: Wouldn’t it be nice to make the work of our friends a lot easier and the work of our enemies a lot harder? We shouldn’t legalize secondary boycotts for unions ruled by the NLRB. we should make it illegal for everyone else! That wouldn’t be a shocking new proposal. Banning secondary boycotts has been a thing since the Taft-Hartley Act was passed. And given that the unions have bypassed the ban on secondary boycotts, the option is to quietly coordinate with friendly nonprofits and activist groups – not to mention those groups that use the tactic themselves, like Sleeping Giants, the Targeting news outlets by threatening their advertisers – by applying laws to undercut the ability of nonprofits and activists to do such things, let alone (as PRO law hopes to do to union enemies), you Holding management personally liable for violations would be a net positive for Team Righty.
Unfortunately, we have to forget to do this with comprehensive federal legislation. If 2016-2018 has taught us anything, we can’t count on Republican Congressmen to pass laws on basic things their electoral base desires, let alone big giveaways for that base. Federal Republicans are good for judges and tax cuts, and that’s it. Not that the federal level isn’t important, but if we want to get something done, the best thing to do is to do it in the states.
Some people on our side of the aisle are already doing this. If you follow the homeschooling lawyer Corey DeAngelis on TwitterYou will have seen him run a running number of states instituting or passing laws that allow funding to follow students rather than public school systems which, to be honest, have failed quite badly in their core business are. It will be a while before we get all the details on how it’s done, but the reason is because people who want the result are pressuring politicians to provide the opportunity. And because politicians are lazy, these people are likely to write the bills for them. You may also have seen news of government efforts to ban training that uses critical racial theory. In Florida, Bill SB1884 is raising the alarm among state officials allied with anti-weapons group Moms Demand, a subsidiary of Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown. The bill purposely targets the anti-weapons strategy of enforcing and overriding strict local regulations when faced with a lawsuit by determining that such act makes the plaintiff in the lawsuit a predominant plaintiff for the purpose of damages.
Right-wing thinkers like to think in ONE BIG BAND: All we have to do is choose the right Big Man, and then we can sit back and have a barbecue. Incremental effort, however, is the source of most real change – not just because small advances add up, but because it is the necessary preparation that enables you to capitalize on maximum effect in those rare moments when transformative change is possible beat. Likewise, Righties like to think of fixing the monstrous problems in the worst places, but the best sites to make changes are not where you are weak, but where you are strong. Red states are not places to sit back and have a barbecue. They are the places where conservatives can set examples to inspire and guide conservatives elsewhere – and actually set guidelines that will ward off the effects of calibrating voters from the blue state to benefit from lower property prices and lower taxes. Learning from each other’s efforts is one way people work.
Arguing about ideas is fun. But just because something is fun doesn’t mean it works. And it doesn’t matter if you win an argument (or an election) unless you make actual changes on the ground that will significantly benefit the cause you are promoting. In this way a real victory is achieved – the way that implements our policies, builds a better society and helps everyone.
And hey, if you’re involved in efforts like this in red states, drop me a line at [email protected]. It is important to highlight success stories, and our employees should know more about our organizational efforts in places where we actually do well.
David Hines has a background in international human rights work with a focus on recovery from enforced disappearances and mass murder. He lives in Los Angeles.
Thank You For Visiting. Please Support This Site By SHARING And Following Us In The Social Networks.