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Proposal Details

Proposal ID484
ProposalPLATFORM: Labor
PresenterPlatform Committee presenter, Green Party of California sponsor
Floor ManagerDavid Strand
Discussion07/19/2010 - 08/01/2010
Voting08/02/2010 - 08/08/2010
Presens Quorum31 0.6666
Consens Quorum76 0.6666 of Yes and No Votes


The Green Party of California submits this amendment to update the 2004 platform, and to express our Green values in the more graceful style of the 1996 and 2000 platforms. We eliminated antiquated facts and references, and made the language more clear, concise, and precise.

The 2004 platform section on labor was comparatively strong. We added a sentence at the outset to express our positive Green vision: "Greens want to strengthen workers' rights and their ability to form unions." We added a plank near the top endorsing the Employee Free Choice Act, and re-arranged the existing planks into themes. We eliminated planks we thought were unworkable as written.

The Green Party of California's delegation to the GPUS originally voted to approve this proposal in April 2010. In our state, we require 2/3rds for passage. Then, in the spirit of seeking consensus with Greens across the country, we attended 11 platform committee conference calls and read more than 500 suggestions posted on the GPUS Platform Committee website and created at the GPUS meeting in Detroit. Based on these ideas, as well as some of our own, our delegation edited our proposals by wiki and then voted again on these edits in July.


Substitute the following language as the new text for the "Labor" section in Chapter II of the GPUS platform.

Section title: Labor

Section subtitle: Re-building the labor movement

Our Position: Greens want to strengthen workers' rights and their ability to form unions.

Greens believe that growing the labor movement is crucial to bringing economic and social justice to the United States. A strong labor movement is a countervailing force to the overwhelming power of large corporations. Unions help raise wages and improve safety conditions for their members and other workers.

Green Solutions

Strengthening workers’ ability to form unions

1. Ensure strict enforcement of the fundamental legal right of all workers to organize, form a union and bargain collectively.

2. Support the Employee Free Choice Act, which guarantees workers’ right to form a union by majority sign-up, ensures a first contract through mandatory arbitration, and imposes meaningful penalties on employers who violate labor laws.

3. Repeal the Taft-Hartley Act, which makes it difficult to organize unions, allows states to enact “right-to-work” laws, and outlaws the closed shop.

4. Give workers’ labor rights the status of civil rights under the Civil Rights Act of 1991, enabling harsher punishment for corporations that violate labor laws, including compensatory and punitive damages, injunctive relief and legal fees.

5. Provide all workers with the right to inform others or be informed about union organizing at their workplace, including via advertising and recruiting.

Fair Compensation

1. Enact state and national living wage laws.

2. Enact the 35-hour work week.

3. Mandate at least one month of paid vacation per year for all full-time workers.

4. Expand the Family and Medical Leave Act to cover more workers, provide for paid family and medical leave and guarantee workers a minimum of seven days of paid annual sick leave.

5. Provide workers with the right to stock ownership and the oversight of the investment of their own funds in the company where they work.

Bolstering workers’ rights and protections

1. Ensure strict enforcement of occupational safety and health laws, add more Occupational, Safety and Health (OSHA) inspectors, and sharply increase corporate penalties for OSHA violations. Require that employers inform workers of hazards and to protect them from those hazards.

2. Provide day-care services at every workplace when feasible, or reasonably near-by when not feasible.

3. Workers rights and protections:

a. To elect representatives to the Board of Directors of the business where they work, with workers' representatives having the same powers as management's.

b. To elect their own union officers.

c. No permanent replacement of striking workers.

d. No forced overtime.

e. Flexible working schedules to allow workers to manage personal and family concerns.

f. Until we have single-payer, universal health care, employers must pay at least half the cost of workers' health insurance.

g. All workers must have unemployment insurance, workers' compensation, and access to a job search program when unemployed.

h. All full-time workers must have minimum pensions, vested and portable.

4. Give agricultural and other excluded workers the protection of federal labor laws, except where state laws offer greater safeguards. Insist on agricultural practices that protect farm workers from hazardous pesticide application of crops and heat related illnesses and deaths.

Collective Bargaining and Employee Ownership

1. Require companies to honor all existing collective bargaining agreements and contracts when they purchase or merge with another company.

2. Require that mediation with an agreed-upon time limit be the first available solution to labor-management disputes.

3. Grant labor the first right to buy out a company that is for sale, going bankrupt or being outsourced.

4. Ensure union members the right to submit a first contract to binding arbitration when a new union is formed.

5. Oppose privatization and contracting-out of public services.

6. Eliminate tax incentives to ship jobs overseas.

7. Include guarantees for workers' rights in treaties, trade agreements and other international obligations. Re-negotiate those treaties and agreements that lack strong protections for workers' rights.

8. Ensure that union leaders are not be paid greatly in excess of compensation of the workers they represent.


Time line: Compilation into new 2010 GPUS Platform upon completion of the voting on all proposed amendments.

Resources: Time and effort of volunteers to compile the platform

Contact: Gary Ruskin, 415-472-2859,


Visit the Platform Committee webpage for this proposal at:
On the webpage, you can see various formats of the proposal created by the GPUS Platform Committee and the amendment proposal sponsors including the 2004 and 2010 texts side-by-side. You can also read and respond to comments from Greens around the country, including many who are not on the Green National Committee.

Here is the 2004 text which is being replaced:
The right to organize unions, bargain freely and strike when necessary is being destroyed by employers and their representatives in government. Today, nearly one out of ten workers involved in union organizing drives is illegally fired by employers who wage a campaign of fear, threats, and slick propaganda to keep workers from exercising a genuinely free choice.

And as union membership falls, so do the wages of all working people, union and non-union alike. We support efforts to overcome these legal handicaps, especially in the South and Southwest where the laws are most hostile. We also must dedicate ourselves to fighting for a complete overhaul of this country’s labor laws.

1. We support the irreducible right of the working people in a company, without hindrance, to form a union and to bargain collectively with their employer. This right was guaranteed under The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1936.

Furthermore, we support the right of workers, without penalty, to inform other workers on the premises of a union being formed. This includes advertising and recruiting.

The 1936 Act has been eroded and diluted over the years by incremental infringements and restrictions, especially by the Taft- Hartley Act of 1947 (which includes the union shop) passed over President Truman’s veto. We stand for repeal of the Taft-Hartley Act.

2. It is imperative that employees in a company or business enjoy workplace democracy, which includes the following:

The right to elect representatives to sit equally with management on the Board of Directors.

The right to fair and democratic elections of their own union officers.

No permanent replacement of striking workers.

No forced overtime.

Encourage flexible working schedules so employees can arrange our own time to deal with personal and family concerns

All workers, temporary or permanent, must be paid a living wage.

All workers must have health care coverage, at least half paid by employer, until the passage of universal health care.

All workers must have unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation, and access to a jobs search program when they are unemployed. This security applies to farm workers as well.

Require minimum pensions for all workers, fully vested and portable, that do not reduce social security benefits

Mediation must be the first available solution to labor – management disputes with an agreed-upon time limit.

New union members must have the right to submit a first contract to binding arbitration at the request of the union.

Labor has the first right to buy out a company that is for sale or is going bankrupt, or being outsourced to another state or another country.

We support a law requiring employers who purchase or merge with other companies to honor all existing collective bargaining agreements and contracts.

Labor has the right to stock ownership and oversight of the investment of its own funds in the company where it works.

3. We support the enactment of living wage laws that apply to all workers. A major consequence of this law will be the lessening of the ever-widening gap between CEOs’ income and workers’ pay.

4. Agricultural and other excluded workers must be covered by federal labor laws, except where existing state laws offer more protection.

5. We encourage cooperative ownership and management of enterprises whenever a buy-out is possible.

6. We support day-care service offered at every workplace when feasible, or reasonably near-by when not feasible at the workplace.

7. Management’s unhindered right to close its workplace and move to a lower-pay locale must be circumscribed to the degree that it protects the local workforce and their job security.

8. We support the establishment of a reduced-hour work week and at least one month of vacation per year for all workers.

9. The ever-widening gap between rich and poor is destructive of democracy and creates an uneven playing field for economic opportunity. Public welfare that depends on hand-outs from the corporate rich reduces democracy by that same amount. Every citizen must have the leverage necessary to become a productive member of the economy and the society in which we live.

10. All workers have a right to a safe and humane working environment. A lack of adequate enforcement of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) laws and/or insufficient standards put many workers at risk.

We support the following safety policies:

Protect and enforce OSHA laws. We insist on adequate testing of equipment and funding of enforcement procedures.

Inform workers of workplace hazards. Employers have a responsibility to protect workers from those hazards.

Legislate full funding for worker safety programs at both the state and federal levels.

Insist on agricultural practices that don’t endanger farm workers. Put agricultural practices under the jurisdiction of OSHA.

11. We stand firmly opposed to privatization and contracting-out of public services. A government that works for us would provide critical goods and services that should not be run for profit.

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