Richard D. Kahlenberg and Moshe Z. Marvit

Richard D. Kahlenberg and Moshe Z. Marvit are fellows at The Century Foundation and coauthors of Why Labor Organizing Should Be A Civil Right: Rebuilding a Middle-Class Democracy by Enhancing Worker Voice.

Recent Articles

Labor at a Crossroads: Can Broadened Civil Rights Law Offer Workers a True Right to Organize?

It's one way to allow victims of anti-union discrimination to sue in federal court for compensatory and punitive damages.

(AP Photo/Alex Sanz)
This article is published as part of " American Labor at a Crossroads: New Thinking, New Organizing, New Strategies ," a conference presented on January 15, co-sponsored by the Albert Shanker Institute, The Sidney Hillman Foundation, and The American Prospect . (View agenda here .) Find our Labor at a Crossroads series here . Organized labor, which represents only 1 in 15 private sector workers, is on its deathbed. The National Labor Relations Act of 1935, which was supposed to allow workers to choose to organize, “is dead and not coming back,” Harold Meyerson reports. The NLRA was designed to protect worker rights in part by prohibiting employers from exerting the power to fire union organizers, but the penalties for violating the law are so weak that employees routinely do so, making it exceedingly difficult to organize. Worse, efforts to strengthen the NLRA under Presidents Lyndon Johnson, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama have all failed. As a result,...