Tuesday, December 19

Chinese Communists School White House on Labor Democracy

Though the Bush White House permits Wal-Mart to generate massive wealth by repressing employee unions and wages, China's Communist Party convinced the international retail giant their workers deserved better.

Until the 1930s, the nation's ruling elite who owned American Industry--the Morgans, Vanderbilts, Carnegies, Fords, DuPonts, etc.--had succeeded in restricting workers' ability to organize or have much say in their place of work.

But following a series of increasingly violent general labor strikes in San Francisco, Minneapolis and Toledo Ohio, Congress passed the National Labor Relations Act in 1935. Besides legally empowering workers to organize and bargain collectively, the legislation also created the National Labor Relations Board, a federal agency tasked "to investigate and decide on charges of unfair labor practices and to conduct elections in which workers would have the opportunity to decide whether they wanted to be represented by a union."

But after the strikes and violence subsided, the American power elite initiated legislative and judicial rollbacks to their concessions to workers; the NLRB also was populated with industry bosses and lobbyists with biases favoring owners and managers over complaints brought by workers.

By 2000 Human Rights Watch issued a "powerful report that found U.S. labor laws were grossly out-of-compliance with international human rights norms."

And then in 2001 the Supreme Court gave George Bush the White House. According to the AFL-CIO, the nation's largest labor union, the NLRB under Bush "is easily the most anti-worker labor board in history and has lost few opportunities to turn back the clock on workers' rights."

Wal-Mart, the Bentonville, Arkansas-based international retail giant, was heralded in Bush America as the ideal corporate model for generating wealth by outlawing labor unions and passing costs of employee benefits and healthcare on to public service and medical programs.

But last Monday (18 December), China's ruling communist party convinced Wal-Mart to allow labor unions in its Chinese stories. According to the Canton,Ohio-based publication CantonRep.com:

"Wal-Mart... resisted the creation of unions at its Chinese stores for two years before agreeing in August to help the ACFTU organize its workers....

The ACFTU, the umbrella body for unions permitted by the government, has announced a target of setting up unions at 60 percent of China’s 150,000 foreign companies by the end of this year."

Read more here.



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