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lindagray

WORKERS' RIGHTS (Wikipedia) 1

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Labor rights or workers' rights are a group of legal rights and claimed human rights having to do with labor relations between workers and their employers, usually obtained under labor and employment law. In general, these rights' debates have to do with negotiating workers' pay, benefits, and safe working conditions. One of the most central of these rights is the right to unionize. Unions take advantage of collective bargaining and industrial action to increase their members' wages and otherwise change their working situation. Labor rights can also take in the form of worker's control and worker's self management in which workers have a democratic voice in decision and policy making. The labor movement initially focused on this "right to unionize", but attention has shifted elsewhere.

Critics of the labor rights movement claim that regulation promoted by labor rights activists may limit opportunities for work. In the United States, critics objected to unions establishing closed shops, situations where employers could only hire union members. The Taft–Hartley Act banned the closed shop but allowed the less restrictive union shop. Taft–Hartley also allowed states to pass right-to-work laws, which require an open shop where a worker's employment is not affected by his or her union membership. Labor counters that the open shop leads to a free rider problem.

Labor Background
Throughout history, workers claiming some sort of right have attempted to pursue their interests. During the Middle Ages, the Peasants' Revolt in England expressed demand for better wages and working conditions. One of the leaders of the revolt, John Ball famously argued that people were born equal saying, "When Adam delved and Eve span, who was then the gentleman?" Laborers often appealed to traditional rights. For instance, English peasants fought against the enclosure movement, which took traditionally communal lands and made them private.

In England 1833, a law was passed saying that any child under the age of 9 could not work, children age 9-13 could only work 8 hours a day, and children aged 14–18 could only work 12 hours a day.

Labor rights are a relatively new addition to the modern corpus of human rights. The modern concept of labor rights dates to the 19th century after the creation of labor unions following the industrialization processes. Karl Marx stands out as one of the earliest and most prominent advocates for workers rights. His philosophy and economic theory focused on labor issues and advocates his economic system of socialism, a society which would be ruled by the workers. Many of the social movements for the rights of the workers were associated with groups influenced by Marx such as the socialists and communists. More moderate democratic socialists and social democrats supported worker's interests as well. More recent workers rights advocacy has focused on the particular role, exploitation, and needs of women workers, and of increasingly mobile global flows of casual, service, or guest workers.

The International Labour Organization (ILO) was formed in 1919 as part of the League of Nations to protect worker's rights. The ILO later became incorporated into the United Nations. The UN itself backed workers rights by incorporating several into two articles of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, which is the basis of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (article 6-8).

Article 23
Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favorable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.
Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.
Everyone who works has the right to just and favorable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.
Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.
Article 24
Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.
The ILO and several other groups have sought international labor standards to create legal rights for workers across the world. Recent movements have also been made to encourage countries to promote labor rights at the international level through fair trade.

 

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