Thursday, February 02, 2006

 

The Wage Slave

Are Anti-Strike laws slave labor?

The Wagner-Taft-Hartley Act of 1935 and the Norris-LaGuardia Act of 1931 both give power to the executive branch to "obtain a court injunction forcing the suspension" of a strike for a period of time.

Rothbard said that (referring to the dockworkers and Nixon on October 4, 1971):

...the "solution" imposed was forced labor, pure and simple; the workers were coerced, against their will, into going back to work. There is no moral excuse, in a society claiming to be opposed to slavery and in a country which has outlawed involuntary servitude, for any legal or judicial action prohibiting strikes-or jailing union leaders who fail to comply. Slavery is all too often more convenient for the slave-masters

Conveniently, business uses government and government uses business to any desired ends. Is this "corporatocracy" really capitalism deformed, or is this the natural evolution of a free market in any society?

Like I said before:
"Capitalism is an economic system. Where Capitalism lives is the social system. Being an idealist, I say that they should not mix company. Being a realist, means that I too must recognize that they share the same bed, much too often. Since they share the same bed though, it is not really capitalism. So what you have many problems with is the current orgy of fascism."

Comments:
Support Murray Rothbard's "For a New Liberty"

http://www.mises.org/story/1953
 
See what Chomsky has to say about it:
http://www.zmag.org/chomsky/other/notes-on-anarchism.html

and Here (a critique of Chomsky):
http://abcdunlimited.com/ideas/chomsky.html
 
Forcing people to work is slave labor. So is forcing people to serve black people or women at their restaurant. *shrug*

Strikes are a nasty, destructive thing far worse than a whites-only restaurant. They make everyone poorer. And people should make individual decisions about where they want to work. Striking reminds me a lot of block voting. ugh.
 
That is a pretty controversal thing to say Elliot, but I think you are right.

Forcing people to work for a period of time through Anti-Strike laws is temporary slave labor. Forcing people to cater to a particular clientele at all times and no longer having choice to refuse business to certain customers is forced labor.

I suppose either way you have a 'choice' in quitting the job (I am not even sure of that) or closing the business, so in a sense it is voluntary action, but there is still coercion.

We also have the new growth of relationship between businesses and the State.
 
I'm not clear; are employees who are injuncted against striking under Taft-Hartley not free to quit? Will they be arrested if they do not show up and work?

If they can quit, then all the government is really saying is "Ok, we're lifting whatever labor-law protections exist that prevent your employer from firing you when you do not show up for work and call it a 'strike'." Whatever the merits or demerits of this policy, it's a completely different animal from "forced labor". And this is *not* coercion (of the employees). It is the labor laws themselves which - for better and/or worse - constitute coercion (of the employers): "If your employees decide to 'go on strike', you have to grin and bear it, and can't fire/replace them" (for some length of time, or whatever the rules actually say).

Now, if injuncted strikers can't quit, and could be arrested for not working, I'd be genuinely shocked.
 
I was under the impression that when Reagan used this approach when the Airlines were going to strike, that they were not allowed to retire early, quit, or seek alternative employment. They were told they would go to jail if they didn't return to work. (If someone would fill in the blanks on the rest of this for story for me, I would appreciate it.)

If this is true, then it is forced labor. Additionally, when a strike does occur, then it no longer becomes the free choice of an individual to act as they so choose. There is force and possibly coercion on the sides of the business, labor union, and the government. So there are plenty of issues in all this.
 
If what's going on is a temporary law change for some people ... well isn't that unconstitutional? Equal protection under the law...
 
Chris,

"Following Calvin Coolidge's dictum that no one could strike against the public safety, [Reagan] announced that any air traffic controllers who refused to return to work in 48 hours would be fired. Only 1,650 returned to work out of 13,000, and the rest were fired."

So, Wiki says "fired", not "arrested". Wiki's not always right but I trust them on this.

I'm not sure that strikes themselves (necessarily) involve force/coercion. Employees who still wish to work can always cross a picket line. Of course, if they are met by labor thugs with baseball bats....


Elliot,

Laws can and probably often do provide for/contemplate their provisions not applying under certain circumstances. Or, a law passed at time T+1 can contain a provision such as, This law amends/supersedes the provisions of that law we passed back at time T, if circumstances XYZ are deemed to hold. It sounds like Taft-Hartley is, in effect, one such.

More generally, I don't think it's "temporary law changes" per se which you mean to say are unconstitutional. You might be thinking of bills of attainder (laws passed to single out one person/group), which this wouldn't be. And "equal protection" is a non-issue. We are all *equally* protected by

(a) labor laws, whatever they are, certain provisions of which (as I have learned from this blog post):

(b) may be superseded/lifted under certain circumstances that allow the executive to obtain an injunction against a strike under Taft-Hartley....
 
actually, rather then forced labor, I think it has an oddly socialist bent: the purpose of the law seems to be that if a service neccesary to the nation strikes [primarily, transportation of goods, such as trucking and airline services] the goverment, which is in charge of keeping order, can make sure the minimum is done to keep peopkle form not getting food: as a specialized economy, if some palces aren't delivered food daily, they will quickly run out, which could lead to riots. ERgo, it seems that at least in some cases, the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few
 
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