Do you know that the children and teenagers are still a major
victim to employers' exploitations?
Despite all the brouhaha the labor market is still rife in instances
of exploitation of unorganized laborers, especially the children
and teenagers. True that the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), 1938,
provides for a minimum wage and overtime pay and places strict limits
on child labor. President Clinton had proposed to raise the minimum
wage for this underprivileged to $6.15 per hour soon, but the rates
are still at $5.85 per hour.. Yet despite this raise the payment
would work out to be far less than the monthly average hourly wage
for production workers. It is also hard fact every year several
hundred thousand unrepresented American employees are discharged
without proper causes. Despite the social and political power enjoyed
by the labor organizations Job security has turned out to be a passé.
In fact as the American labor movement crosses the second century
it is confronted with more challenges than cheers.
We have given you a detailed list
on the prevailing minimum rates at the different states. Click here
to view them.
Let's take a look at the trend:
The American labor movement has historically derived its organizational
strength from the Northern blue-collar workers. Today things have
changed drastically. As the US continues its transformation into
a post-industrial society with knowledge-edge the job as well as
the labor profile has changed quite a lot. Keeping pace with these
changes the number of white collar and service positions has increased
while the number of blue collar production jobs has shrunk sizably.
Accordingly, the condition of the organized labor force in the US
has improved compared to that of their brethren some hundred years
ago. The government extends newer benefits to help American workers
acquire the skills and get the information they need to succeed
in the 21st Century. Recently Vice President Al Gore announced a
new website, www.workers.gov, that connects workers and their families
to government services and information.
Over the recent past a broad consensus on the employer-employee
relationship has developed. The consensus begins with a recognition
that market processes, including labor markets have created enormous
wealth. But in fact, the markets are yet to be based on perfect,
self-regulating mechanisms. And the axe of this imperfection often
falls on the weaker sections of labor force. For instance, see the
plight of the labor force, not coming under the purview of organizations
The galloping pace with which this unorganized labor force is growing
has become a cause
of concern. Unions now represent about 13 per cent of the work force.
Thanks to the changed psyche - the growing awareness of the possibilities
for individual advancement and the tendency to dissociate one's
future from collective actions. Result, there has been an alarming
fall in the membership of the labor unions over the recent past.
This decline in union strength has deprived most workers of meaningful
collective representation. However, if labor organizations become
ineffective, many of the employees will exploit the situation. If
there is no statutory minimum wage, many workers, especially those
with little or no bargaining power would be subject to the whims
of market and would be forced to accept earnings that are considered
socially unacceptable. Finally in the absence of total labor movement
the federal and the state legislators will be less inclined to support
statutes protecting workers' interests.
While promises are still there, the lurking perils over the labor
are no less significant. So the writing on the wall is even after
a couple of centuries of morph sis America can hardly deny the need
and relevance of organized labor movement.