International Human Rights Day: The Right To Organize

The right to organize a union begins with First Amendment freedoms: the fundamental freedom of assembly and freedom of speech. Being able to gather together, having a voice at work, winning better wages and securing dignity on the job all begin with the basic right to talk with co-workers about forming a union.

But across North America, that right is under attack. With help from a sympathetic administration in Washington, D.C. and advice from a legion of anti-union law firms, employers are harassing, threatening and firing employees brave enough to stand up for their right to organize.

According to a recent study by Cornell University, ninety-two percent of employers forced employees interested in forming a union to attend closed door meetings to hear anti-union propaganda; nearly 80 percent required supervisors to deliver anti-union messages and 75 percent hired anti-union consultants.

Additionally, half of all employers facing unionization threatened to shut down their operations if employees joined a union. One in four private sector employers illegally fired workers who wanted to form unions.

If we’re serious about protecting our rights as union members, then we have to get serious about protecting the rights of men and women who are trying to join our movement. There is no better opportunity to make our collective voices heard than to get involved in the mobilizing activities on International Human Rights Day on December 10, 2005. A key goal is to rally support for the Employee Free Choice Act, legislation requiring employees to recognize a union after a majority of workers sign cards authorizing union representation. For more information about International Human Rights Day, the Employee Free Choice Act and to locate Dec.10 activities in your area, please visit the special AFL-CIO website and watch for regular updates on

Share and Follow: