Kentucky Labor Institute
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    Updated: Aug. 23 (14:03)

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    KY AFL-CIO Web Site
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    Louisville Central Labor Council
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    Did you know...that the Register of the Kentucky Historical Society, first printed in 1903, is the oldest peer-reviewed publication dedicated to Kentucky history?Subscribe to the Register (only $40 per year).
    Action Center
    Register of the Kentucky Historical Society
    Did you know...that the Register of the Kentucky Historical Society, first printed in 1903, is the oldest peer-reviewed publication dedicated to Kentucky history?Subscribe to the Register (only $40 per year).
  • Oppressive Companies Show Why We Need Unions
    Posted On: Oct 04, 2015

                   Oppressive Companies Show Why We Need Unions

                                       joe  brennan

                You have got to be kidding! That was my first reaction upon hearing what one new takeover company was actually going to demand from its workforce. Granted, this was a foreign company that had just merged with an American manufacturing company. Then came labor negotiations, or what might best be termed labor's concessions. All told the new owners had a list of demands -  a long list - some fifty three in all, and this was before discussing wages, benefits, and safety regulations. The company demanded that workers report to the plant whenever required by company. Vacations, personal or family medical emergencies, were not important - company needs came first.

                Sudden call ins, resulting in discovering that one's appearance  was  not really required, were not remunerated in wage compensation, nor in payment for lost personal time while traveling to the plant. Remember, all this occurred before  wage and benefits were even discussed. It took union contract negotiations to eliminate these ridiculous company demands. Literally hours and days of union intervention were needed before the company owners would finally concede to the union, and the workers they represented.

                The simple question now should be asked? What would have happened if there were no union? Or if Kentucky were a "right to work" state? What recourse would the individual worker have in face of the new owner's opposition, or the company's experienced labor attorney? The answer is simple - None. Confronted with this reality of an experienced employer and a paid legal staff, the ordinary worker would be defenseless. S/he could not even organize with other workers  since collective bargaining would be prohibited. Given the above situation the individual worker's only CHOICE would be, accept the employer's unreasonable work conditions ,  endure company demands over family needs, or s/he be free and Choose to leave their employment. BUT the union defended workplace rights. No union  - no recognition of  worker rights. In a "right to work" state, unions are forced to struggle to exist, and workers struggle to support their families.


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