Bill Meyers for Congress!

1st Congressional District of California, November 2004 election

Green Party Primary, March 2004


Labor and Unions

More Issues

Basic Position: I advocate giving Americans a Fair Deal in our economy. Every person who works for wages should have the right to join a labor union. In Congress I would work to repeal the Taft-Hartley "slave-labor" Act. I would work to make the minimum wage a living wage.

My Experience: I have been a member of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) since 1988. I currently work freelance, so I am both a wage-worker and have a small business.

Overview: Our laws are simply unfair to workers. In the past two decades millions of good jobs have been exported to low wage countries under trade agreements pushed by international corporations and their Presidential and Congressional servants, including my opponent. Union membership is lower than it has been since the Great Depression. It is no coincidence that real wages are lower than in the 1970's, unemployment and underemployment are high, and over 30 million Americans have no health insurance.

A Fair Deal for American workers means a living wage, full employment, the right to unionize and bargain collectively, health insurance for all, protection from predatory businesses, and protection from unfair foreign competition.

If a business cannot pay a living wage, why should it be allowed to make a profit? Paying people less than a living wage harms people. It harms the economy by lowering the amount workers have to spend. It allows such businesses to compete unfairly with businesses that do pay a living wage. If a man (or woman) is not a good enough business person to pay a living wage and still make a profit, they don't deserve a license to do business any more than an incompetent electrician does.

Full employment is achievable. There's no shortage of things that need to be done in the United States. What has been lacking is the political and moral will to get us to full employment. Full employment will require a living wage to bring back prosperity to American workers, unionization so that they can collectively bargain for their fair role in the American economy, and a Federal Reserve policy that puts wage-earners first and Wall Street predators last.

Workers do better when they band together to bargain collectively with their employers, who are almost always people with capital who have banded together in a corporation. When two or more workers want to, they should be able to have a union and collective bargaining simply because they want it.

The union-busting tactics of corporations are legendary. The anti-union propaganda of the corporate-owned media is so pervasive that many people who would benefit from unionizing say they are anti-union. As your Congressman, I'll do everything I can to restore this country to economic and social health by supporting pro-union legislation.

Please also see my statements on Health Insurance, Taxes, and Social Security.