(1) The Right to Form a Worker's Union
Labor unions were formed during the 1800s, but they were seen as mere troublemakers by employers. The courts of law often sided with the latter, as they declared labor unions unlawful and the workers guilty of criminal conspiracy.
It is important to note that during those times, state laws prevailed, and the courts decided whether such laws were legal and enforceable. Although dissenting opinions slowly surfaced in state legislatures, more than a century passed and workers were still literally fighting for their rights to fair labor practices. Courts still decided whether the law passed by the state should be upheld or not.
It was only in 1932 that labor unions won the support of the Supreme Court when the latter abolished the laws against union membership. Yet the succeeding years were still marred by more violence and disruptions; hence labor unions remained active in fighting for workers’ rights.
Finally, in 1935, the US Federal labor laws were passed and were called the National Labor Relations Act, which embodied the rights of the employees to fair labor. After two years, the said laws were ratified by the Supreme Court. By the middle of the 19th century, more states began to recognize the rights of workers to form labor organizations or unions.
As changes in governance throughout the years took place during the 19th century, Congress passed more laws that recognized the employees’ rights to fair labor. Years passed and employees saw more edicts enacted in response to their grievances. Accordingly, union membership started to decline in the 1950s.
Today, reports on labor union statistics reveal that only 12.5 percent of the workers remain active as union members; 40 percent belong to the public sector and only 10 percent are employees of private sectors.