Union-Busting, the Latest Ugly US Export

We all know that when it comes to providing health care, maternity leave and retirement security for all their citizens, Britain, France and all the rest of "old" Europe make the United States look pretty pathetic.

For instance, Britain provides 72 weeks of paid maternity leave while even South Africa, at the low end of the spectrum, offers 12 paid weeks. The United States? Zero.

The list goes on and doesn't get any better.

But it's not enough for greedy corporations to endlessly lobby for their anti-employee agendas in Congress. They now are exporting the most insidious methods of preventing workers from attaining fundamental workplace freedoms: Union-busting.

Union-busting is a $4 million industry in the United States. When faced with a group of workers who want to form a union, U.S. employers all too often turn to these firms, packed with corporate lawyers who, for a steep price, provide them with all the dirty tricks they can undertake within a hair of the law. The same hasn't been true in Europe. Until now.

To better coordinate efforts against multinational union-busting, the AFL-CIO and our counterpart in Britain, the Trades Union Congress (TUC), earlier this month agreed to share information about the activity of union-busting firms in the United States and Britain. AFL-CIO President John Sweeney and TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber signed a joint agreement Feb. 12 to work together to eliminate the intimidation of workers who want to improve the quality of their families' lives by forming a union. Both will jointly lobby governments and relevant international bodies to restrict the activities of the union-busters, develop a shared database of union-busting activity and create "Busting the Union-Busters" training materials. (Click here to read the agreement.)

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card


Thanks for your support!

Did you enjoy AlterNet this year? Join us! We're offering AlterNet ad-free for 15% off - just $2 per week. From now until March 15th.