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[PASSED] Repeal: "Fairness in Collective Bargaining"

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Sylh Alanor
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[PASSED] Repeal: "Fairness in Collective Bargaining"

Postby Sylh Alanor » Mon Jan 18, 2021 8:11 pm

Hi everyone! This is my first time submitting something to the World Assembly. A friend and I noticed that there were some issues with GAR#530: Fairness in Collective Bargaining. Some of these were brought up in the original thread, some were brought up in our own regional discussion, but ultimately the argument I'm going with in the draft below is that, despite stating the goal was to provide a balance to collective bargaining, ultimately the resolution pushes on the scale hard in favour of employers.

This is being paired with a replacement draft that we hope is a little tighter.

The World Assembly,

Affirming that the protection of workers’ rights to unionise and collectively bargain is an admirable goal,

Understanding that some member nations may wish to balance unions’ rights with those of employers,

Concerned by the definition of ‘interference’ in clause 1, as it only prevents employers from attempting to gain control of labour unions and fails to provide any meaningful protections for the creation or operation of unions,

Noting that the term 'labour union' is not used consistently throughout, and that GAR#530 instead utilises various surrogate terms that unscrupulous employers and governments could effectively argue are different types of organisations, and that the protections over one type of organisation do not apply when their own organisation is considered to be another,

Disappointed by GAR#530's use of easily-exploitable language, which creates loopholes in the following sections:
  • 4c, which prohibits labour unions from ‘requiring excessive dues’ without defining what excessive would mean in this context, allowing anti-union governments to define any monetary amount or percentage of income as 'excessive',
  • 4d, which prohibits labour unions from influencing employers to pay for ‘unneeded workers’, stifling the efficacy of labour unions to intervene when employers seek to underpay or cut workers' hours, at will, any time an employer states the worker was 'unneeded',

Believing that GAR#530 does more through its language choices to harm the rights of workers than protect them,

Optimistic that a replacement proposal better suited to protecting labour unions and providing for fair negotiations will soon be passed,

Hereby repeals GAR#530, “Fairness in Collective Bargaining”.

Co-authored by: Junitaki-cho


The World Assembly,

Affirming that the protection of workers’ rights to unionise and collectively bargain is an admirable goal,

Understanding that some member nations may wish to balance unions’ rights with those of employers,

Concerned by the definition of ‘interference’ in clause 1, as it only prevents employers from attempting to gain control of labour unions and fails to address any further forms of obstruction or sabotage,

Noting that clause 3a, which aims to protect workers’ ability to ‘act in concert to protect their rights’, does not protect workers' right to do so in the form of a labour union. This, coupled with clause 2, allows employers to prevent the formation of unions in the first place,

Disappointed by GAR#530's use of easily-exploitable language, which creates loopholes in the following sections:
  • 4c, which prohibits labour unions from ‘requiring excessive dues’ without defining what excessive would mean in this context, allowing anti-union governments to define any monetary amount or percentage of income as excessive,
  • 4d, which prohibits labour unions from influencing employers to pay for ‘unneeded workers’, stifling the efficacy of labour unions to intervene when employers seek to underpay or cut workers' hours at will by claiming the worker is 'unneeded',

Wishing further clarification had been provided under clause 6a, which mandates member nations establish a system to enforce labour law regardless of whether that law exists, failing to impact nations without any such law,

Believing that GAR#530 does more through its language choices to harm the rights of workers than protect them,

Hereby repeals GAR#530, “Fairness in Collective Bargaining”.

Co-authored by: Junitaki-cho

The World Assembly,

Affirming that the protection of workers’ rights to unionise and collectively bargain is an admirable goal,

Understanding that some member nations may wish to balance unions’ rights with those of employers,

Concerned by the definition of ‘interference’ in clause 1, as it only prevents employers from attempting to gain control of labour unions and fails to provide any meaningful protections for the creation or operation of unions,

Noting that the term 'labour union' is not used consistently throughout, and that GAR#530 instead utilises various surrogate terms that unscrupulous employers and governments could effectively argue are different types of organisations, thus breaking down protections due to lack of clarity,

Disappointed by GAR#530's use of easily-exploitable language, which creates loopholes in the following sections:
  • 4c, which prohibits labour unions from ‘requiring excessive dues’ without defining what excessive would mean in this context, allowing anti-union governments to define any monetary amount or percentage of income as excessive,
  • 4d, which prohibits labour unions from influencing employers to pay for ‘unneeded workers’, allowing employers to underpay or cut the hours of workers at will so long as they state the worker was unneeded,

Believing that GAR#530 does more through its language choices to harm the rights of workers than protect them,

Optimistic that a replacement proposal better suited to protecting labour unions and providing for fair negotiations will soon be passed,

Hereby repeals GAR#530, “Fairness in Collective Bargaining”.

Co-authored by: Junitaki-cho
Last edited by Sedgistan on Mon Mar 01, 2021 10:20 am, edited 12 times in total.
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Postby Honeydewistania » Mon Jan 18, 2021 8:17 pm

Full support regardless of content. Nice to see someone take up my suggestion/idea!
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Postby Scalizagasti » Mon Jan 18, 2021 8:57 pm

Sylh Alanor wrote:Noting that clause 3a, which aims to protect workers’ ability to ‘act in concert to protect their rights’, does not protect workers' right to do so in the form of a labour union. This, coupled with clause 2, allows employers to prevent the formation of unions in the first place

"I am not exactly sure how clause 2 allows employers to prevent unionization. Furthermore, I would assume that the 'ability of multiple workers to act in concert to protect their rights' would include forming a union, as unions are typically organizations of many workers cooperating to mutually protect the rights of one another."

"That being said, the Disappointed clause in this repeal makes a very convincing argument. As you have described, these vaguely defined terms give employers and governments a loophole to ignore some very important protections that the original resolution attempts to guarantee. For this reason, I support this repeal, and eagerly await the replacement."
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Postby Sylh Alanor » Mon Jan 18, 2021 10:15 pm

Scalizagasti wrote:
Sylh Alanor wrote:Noting that clause 3a, which aims to protect workers’ ability to ‘act in concert to protect their rights’, does not protect workers' right to do so in the form of a labour union. This, coupled with clause 2, allows employers to prevent the formation of unions in the first place

"I am not exactly sure how clause 2 allows employers to prevent unionization. Furthermore, I would assume that the 'ability of multiple workers to act in concert to protect their rights' would include forming a union, as unions are typically organizations of many workers cooperating to mutually protect the rights of one another."

"That being said, the Disappointed clause in this repeal makes a very convincing argument. As you have described, these vaguely defined terms give employers and governments a loophole to ignore some very important protections that the original resolution attempts to guarantee. For this reason, I support this repeal, and eagerly await the replacement."


"Thank you for the response. Clause one defines interference as 'any acts intended to place or keep a labor union under the control of an employer whose workers are represented by that union as a bargaining unit'. Because of this definition, clause two's mention of establishment can only mean that employers and labour unions are prevented from forcing the establishment of labour unions that are explicitly under the control of employers whose employees are participating in that union. This does not include interfering (in a colloquial sense removed from the definition) in the establishment of a labour union disconnected from the employer."

OOC: Thanks to the definition, you have to read this very specifically, and it's easy to read clause 2 as we would normally read something with the word "interfering", instead of the way Cretox specifically asked us to. Placing the definition into place over the word, it ends up saying:

"Prohibits [acts intended to place or keep a labor union under the control of an employer,] by employers and labor unions in the establishment, functioning, or administration of labor unions"


"Clause 3a does not mention labour unions by name, nor is the term defined anywhere in the text. Because it chooses instead to only state '[Prohibits employers from:] unduly impinging on the ability of multiple workers to act in concert to protect their rights', it doesn't specifically mean union activity. Unions, as an organisation themselves, aren't a necessary component for unified action.

"When you put the above points together, it means that as long as workers have the ability to perform some kind of action, there's nothing preventing the employer from punishing or preventing the formation of a union specifically by their own employees. It's possible this is a reach, but we're trying to see this within the scope of the definition provided to us, as well as critically approaching the lack of any unifying or connecting terminology used by the author throughout the resolution.

"I very much appreciate the showing of support, and the feedback on the 'Disappointed' clause!"
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Postby Sylh Alanor » Tue Jan 26, 2021 7:35 pm

OOC: Just giving a little bump here as it's been a little over a week since I got a comment. Any feedback is appreciated; I'd like this to be the best it can possibly be.
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Postby Maowi » Wed Jan 27, 2021 8:28 am

Sylh Alanor wrote:"Clause 3a does not mention labour unions by name, nor is the term defined anywhere in the text. Because it chooses instead to only state '[Prohibits employers from:] unduly impinging on the ability of multiple workers to act in concert to protect their rights', it doesn't specifically mean union activity. Unions, as an organisation themselves, aren't a necessary component for unified action.

"When you put the above points together, it means that as long as workers have the ability to perform some kind of action, there's nothing preventing the employer from punishing or preventing the formation of a union specifically by their own employees. It's possible this is a reach, but we're trying to see this within the scope of the definition provided to us, as well as critically approaching the lack of any unifying or connecting terminology used by the author throughout the resolution.


"While the first part of your argument seems accurate to me, I believe the conclusion you go on to draw from it is more extreme than the reality. Clause 3.a. does not restrict itself to prohibiting employers from outright preventing workers to act together; it more broadly prohibits employers from impinging upon this ability - from affecting it in any unwanted way. So if a group of workers wished to form a labour union, their employers would not be permitted to act against this "unduly". The potential weakness I can see is the vagueness of the term "unduly", but overall I believe the clause is more forceful than you make it out to be.

Sylh Alanor wrote:Wishing further clarification had been provided under clause 6a, which mandates member nations establish a system to enforce labour law regardless of whether that law exists, failing to impact nations without any such law,


"While I see your point of view, your target resolution itself creates the relevant labour law which member states must implement, so while WA #530 is in place all member states will always have labour law to enforce."

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Postby Junitaki-cho » Wed Jan 27, 2021 11:20 am

Co-author here. Here's why I disagree. The text of 3(a) is:

[Prohibits employers from] unduly impinging on the ability of multiple workers to act in concert to protect their rights

The operative word here, in my view, is ability. It prohibits impinging on the ability of workers to act in concert. It doesn't protect their right to form and operate unions (which is already unprotected under clause 2), and it doesn't protect specific actions. And again, unions are not essential to collective action.

The result is that, in much the same way that barring someone from driving doesn't impinge on their ability to travel from point A to point B, barring unionization doesn't impinge on workers' ability to act in concert to protect their rights.

To be clear, I believe there are myriad reasons to repeal and replace this resolution, even putting this aside: the sloppy wording of clause 4, the unreadable confusion of "interference" within the context of its definition, the lack of clearly defined meanings and guidelines for things as simple as what a labour union is. But the lack of union protections is a huge problem too, and I believe this is a credible reading of the text.
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Postby Maowi » Wed Jan 27, 2021 2:29 pm

OOC:

Junitaki-cho wrote:Co-author here. Here's why I disagree. The text of 3(a) is:

[Prohibits employers from] unduly impinging on the ability of multiple workers to act in concert to protect their rights

The operative word here, in my view, is ability. It prohibits impinging on the ability of workers to act in concert. It doesn't protect their right to form and operate unions (which is already unprotected under clause 2), and it doesn't protect specific actions. And again, unions are not essential to collective action.

The result is that, in much the same way that barring someone from driving doesn't impinge on their ability to travel from point A to point B, barring unionization doesn't impinge on workers' ability to act in concert to protect their rights.


I agree with you that specific actions are not protected by that wording, but you are still ignoring the definition of the word "impinging". According to Cambridge's dictionary:

impinge on/upon something
— phrasal verb with impinge verb
US/ɪmˈpɪndʒ/

to have an effect on something, often by limiting it in some way


And as far as I know, that's a fairly standard definition of the word. For an employer to "impinge on the ability of multiple workers to act in concert to protect their rights", they don't need to entirely take away that ability; they just need to limit it in some way. Unions are not essential to collective action, as you say, but preventing a group of workers from forming one would certainly limit their ability for collective action (in quite a major way). Again, the word "unduly" could introduce some ambiguity, but it does not change the fundamental meaning of the clause.

To be clear, I believe there are myriad reasons to repeal and replace this resolution, even putting this aside: the sloppy wording of clause 4, the unreadable confusion of "interference" within the context of its definition, the lack of clearly defined meanings and guidelines for things as simple as what a labour union is. But the lack of union protections is a huge problem too, and I believe this is a credible reading of the text.


Indeed, I think you raise other, valid points in this proposal - I simply dispute the "noting" and the "wishing" clauses.

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Postby Sylh Alanor » Fri Jan 29, 2021 6:02 pm

Maowi wrote:I agree with you that specific actions are not protected by that wording, but you are still ignoring the definition of the word "impinging". According to Cambridge's dictionary:

impinge on/upon something
— phrasal verb with impinge verb
US/ɪmˈpɪndʒ/

to have an effect on something, often by limiting it in some way


And as far as I know, that's a fairly standard definition of the word. For an employer to "impinge on the ability of multiple workers to act in concert to protect their rights", they don't need to entirely take away that ability; they just need to limit it in some way. Unions are not essential to collective action, as you say, but preventing a group of workers from forming one would certainly limit their ability for collective action (in quite a major way). Again, the word "unduly" could introduce some ambiguity, but it does not change the fundamental meaning of the clause.


I think this is a fair point, and I don't mind changing things around since it seems this is the most contentious part of the draft. I'll post a new draft here soon with a rework of that section. Thanks for this!

Maowi wrote:
Sylh Alanor wrote:Wishing further clarification had been provided under clause 6a, which mandates member nations establish a system to enforce labour law regardless of whether that law exists, failing to impact nations without any such law,


"While I see your point of view, your target resolution itself creates the relevant labour law which member states must implement, so while WA #530 is in place all member states will always have labour law to enforce."


This is a good point that I hadn't considered. While I'm still interpreting 6(a) in the same way as my original read, I think yours is a fair read as well. I don't mind getting rid of the clause.
Last edited by Sylh Alanor on Fri Jan 29, 2021 6:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Sylh Alanor » Mon Feb 01, 2021 1:21 am

Second draft has been posted! I've removed the "Wishing" clause targeting 6(a) in the original due to a potential read being pointed out to me that I hadn't considered. I also reworked the "Concerned" and "Noting" clauses.
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Postby Honeydewistania » Wed Feb 03, 2021 3:42 pm

The noting clause could perhaps elaborate or give and example on the potential abuse as a result of it?
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Postby Sylh Alanor » Sun Feb 14, 2021 9:44 pm

Honeydewistania wrote:The noting clause could perhaps elaborate or give and example on the potential abuse as a result of it?

I'll admit, I've been kind of racking my brain at how to get my thoughts down in a concise manner for that clause. I've changed it to the following in hopes that it gets my point across:

Noting that the term 'labour union' is not used consistently throughout, and that GAR#530 instead utilises various surrogate terms that unscrupulous employers and governments could effectively argue are different types of organisations, thus breaking down protections due to lack of clarity,


What do you think? My point, ultimately, is that in using multiple terms, all inconsistently, throughout the resolution, the author introduces a lot of ambiguity due to these terms not being defined to mean the same thing. Legally, that means (if my reading is correct) that if a section of the resolution applies to a section where it's labelled 'bargaining unit', a bad-faith company could make a compelling argument that a bargaining unit isn't the same thing as a labour union, and therefore that section doesn't apply a protection to a labour union.
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Postby Honeydewistania » Sun Feb 14, 2021 9:46 pm

That’s good enough for me
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Postby Sylh Alanor » Thu Feb 18, 2021 1:40 am

As things seem to be in a very good spot, I'm going to go ahead and move it to last call with an aim to submit this for the weekend.
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Postby Maowi » Thu Feb 18, 2021 4:30 am

OOC: I think this looks good now! Will the replacement draft be ready to go immediately after the potential passage of this proposal? You could bump that too to make sure.

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Postby Sylh Alanor » Thu Feb 18, 2021 8:28 pm

Maowi wrote:OOC: I think this looks good now! Will the replacement draft be ready to go immediately after the potential passage of this proposal? You could bump that too to make sure.

Thanks so much! Yes, the replacement draft has also been moved to last call ^-^
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Postby Cretox State » Fri Feb 19, 2021 8:18 pm

Looks good. Well-constructed.

Concerned by the definition of ‘interference’ in clause 1, as it only prevents employers from attempting to gain control of labour unions and fails to provide any meaningful protections for the creation or operation of unions,


The definition in question:

Defines "interference" as any acts intended to place or keep a labor union under the control of an employer whose workers are represented by that union as a bargaining unit;


My intention with "interference" wasn't to broadly protect the creation or operation of unions. It was to outlaw company unions. However, I agree with the repeal as a whole, and your replacement handles company unions just fine.

Noting that the term 'labour union' is not used consistently throughout, and that GAR#530 instead utilises various surrogate terms that unscrupulous employers and governments could effectively argue are different types of organisations, thus breaking down protections due to lack of clarity,

Can you elaborate on these surrogate terms? I'm a bit confused here.

Edit: So this refers to "bargaining unit." I used that in the "interference" definition to establish that the workers are being represented by a particular union. This is the only place where that term's used. I think this part of the repeal's too vague, and the link between "bargaining unit" and "breaking down protections" isn't well established.

Disappointed by GAR#530's use of easily-exploitable language, which creates loopholes in the following sections:
    4c, which prohibits labour unions from ‘requiring excessive dues’ without defining what excessive would mean in this context, allowing anti-union governments to define any monetary amount or percentage of income as excessive,

Fair.

4d, which prohibits labour unions from influencing employers to pay for ‘unneeded workers’, allowing employers to underpay or cut the hours of workers at will so long as they state the worker was unneeded,

This doesn't actually give employers free reign to cut workers' pay or hours; it simply forbid unions from influencing employers to not do that. Other labor law directly dealing with unneeded workers still applies here. However, the wording is funny ("pay for") and the clause as a whole doesn't do its job.

Overall support.
Last edited by Cretox State on Fri Feb 19, 2021 8:24 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Postby Sylh Alanor » Sat Feb 20, 2021 12:57 pm

Hi Cretox, thanks so much for the positive feedback. Let me address the points you found to be shaky.

Cretox State wrote:
Noting that the term 'labour union' is not used consistently throughout, and that GAR#530 instead utilises various surrogate terms that unscrupulous employers and governments could effectively argue are different types of organisations, thus breaking down protections due to lack of clarity,

Can you elaborate on these surrogate terms? I'm a bit confused here.

Edit: So this refers to "bargaining unit." I used that in the "interference" definition to establish that the workers are being represented by a particular union. This is the only place where that term's used. I think this part of the repeal's too vague, and the link between "bargaining unit" and "breaking down protections" isn't well established.

It isn't only the term 'bargaining unit' that this applies to. In the original, you've also used various versions of 'workers acting together to exercise their rights' (3a, 3b, 4a, and arguably 7b). The wording on this section was admittedly a bit looser than I'd have liked, however, and I'm going to go ahead and edit it to explain more clearly why the various terms are harmful with:

Noting that the term 'labour union' is not used consistently throughout, and that GAR#530 instead utilises various surrogate terms that unscrupulous employers and governments could effectively argue are different types of organisations, and that the protections over one type of organisation do not apply when their own organisation is considered to be another,


Cretox State wrote:
4d, which prohibits labour unions from influencing employers to pay for ‘unneeded workers’, allowing employers to underpay or cut the hours of workers at will so long as they state the worker was unneeded,

This doesn't actually give employers free reign to cut workers' pay or hours; it simply forbid unions from influencing employers to not do that. Other labor law directly dealing with unneeded workers still applies here. However, the wording is funny ("pay for") and the clause as a whole doesn't do its job.


This is a fair point, and I can see that focusing the clause around employers was the wrong approach. I'm editing this to replace that section in hopes that the argument might be a bit more clear:

4d, which prohibits labour unions from influencing employers to pay for ‘unneeded workers’, stifling the efficacy of labour unions to intervene when employers seek to underpay or cut workers' hours at will by claiming the worker is 'unneeded',
Last edited by Sylh Alanor on Sun Feb 21, 2021 2:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Sylh Alanor » Thu Feb 25, 2021 10:07 am

This is now at vote.
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Postby Westinor » Thu Feb 25, 2021 11:58 am

The North Pacific Ministry of World Assembly Affairs supports this proposal and recommends a vote For it. Our delegate will be voting accordingly. For further information on our stance, please view our IFV dispatch here: https://www.nationstates.net/page=dispatch/id=1510999
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Postby United States of Americanas » Fri Feb 26, 2021 10:41 am

On condition the replacement be drafted swiftly and placed on the calendar with due diligence I vote aye
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Postby Sylh Alanor » Fri Feb 26, 2021 11:07 am

United States of Americanas wrote:On condition the replacement be drafted swiftly and placed on the calendar with due diligence I vote aye

We're hoping to submit it as soon as the repeal goes through, so it should be a out as swift as possible ^-^

Thank you for your support! Same for Westinor above.
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Postby Scalizagasti » Fri Feb 26, 2021 5:40 pm

The United Regions Alliance recommends that nations vote for this resolution. During internal voting, 12 regions voted in favour of the resolution, 1 region voted against, and 1 region abstained. For more detailed reasoning, see the dispatch below.

https://www.nationstates.net/page=dispatch/id=1511649
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The Langburn Islands
Bureaucrat
 
Posts: 44
Founded: Jan 14, 2021
New York Times Democracy

Postby The Langburn Islands » Fri Feb 26, 2021 8:39 pm

"This is an excellent, well written and much needed proposal which will protect the rights of all workers at work and provide for stronger legal protections for unions conducting organising activities. The Commonwealth of the Langburn Islands is delighted to support the proposal".
The Commonwealth of The Langburn Islands
Population: 4.2 million Capital city: Onita (pop. 1.5 million)

President: Bear Logan (Independent)
Prime Minister: Jim Coffey (Reform)
WA Ambassador: Susana Arias (Independent)

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