Protecting the Rights of Labour Unions
The first opinion is for the proposal.
- We believe that workers' rights are highly important and have proven in the past to be very beneficial in keeping jobs and standards. We believe this proposal couldn't have come at a better time with companies such as Amazon increasing their efforts to put an end to unions within their warehouses. We praise what the proposal prohibits employers from doing in order to weaken the unions and or employee's rights within the workplace.
There are concerns however, in regards to employer's rights. More specifically, section 4 (b) 'acting in the interests of an employer at the expense of the interests or well-being off its enrolled employees'. We believe this clause can easily be abused by member nations to sue the unions themselves. Especially with right to work legislation in place within the WA. Member nations can use this to justify forcing unions to shut down for hurting the job market and justifying that certain union policies harm the employees.
However, we believe these flaws can be ironed out in future proposals. We believe this resolution is the right step in the direction in protecting the day to day lives of workers and their rights. Therefore, we vote FOR this resolution.
The second opinion is against it.
- Section 4(b) (‘Disallows labour unions from... acting in the interests of an employer at the expense of the interests or well-being of its enrolled employees’) creates a very difficult legal position for unions: they will be sued any time they do much of anything. The provisions of WA legislation create grounds for suits in member nation courts. GA 440 ‘Admin Compliance Act’ art 1 s 1 (2018).
One could easily imagine that a union saying ‘We voted to take the compromise we signed’ would get sued by the people who voted against the compromise, leading to constant legal costs. One could also imagine some Chamber of Commerce setting up a pro bono legal representation fund to help people start and fund such suits to ‘help labour exercise its rights’.
A law that allows unions to be sued into the ground (or the government to say that union activity actually harms workers and therefore they are breaking the law) shouldn't be passed in the first place. Hamstringing organised labour organisations with legal liability that saps their legal defence funds is not the right choice to make.
Because of the contradiction rule, preventing later legislation from contradicting this proposal, if it were to pass, it would not be possible to amend or fix this flaw. A vote against should be lodged.
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