Inspired by this thread, but I don’t want to hijack that one.
I think there is a need for a new type of labor organization. I support unions, but I really don’t like them since it perpetuates the artificial divide between owners/management and labor and is too focused on individual work places and employers. But labor does needs a voice to counteract the power of management and other interest groups.
I have in mind ‘labor associations’ similar to professional associations for accountants, doctors, etc. While those organizations focus on professional certification and practice development, they also provide a strong political lobby for those groups as well. They don’t provide collective bargaining, but concentrate on legislation and issues that will benefit the entire profession.
So while they would not offer binding representation, though could offer arbitration services and legal funds for members to use.
Labor associations would be focused on broad classes on general occupational classes - retail workers, office workers, restaurant and food service, construction, etc. Membership would be voluntary and would not be tied to employment. I think major services they could provide would be health insurance, pension funds, credit unions and other benefits traditional unions provide. They could possibly offer certifications for certain types of jobs. But most importantly, they would provide a political voice and encourage solidarity among members of their particular occupation. It would also focus on individual worker empowerment and professional development not tied to any specific employer or workplace.
Another important function would mirror industrial trade associations, providing their membership with information on industry developments and trends, but focused on the occupations, not firm management as trade associations do. A cross between trade journals such as the Journal of Accountancy andLabor Notes is part of what I have in mind as far as the type of publication.
I think nursing associations are the closest model to what I have in mind, as a hybrid between a professional association and a trade union.
Would associations like this work? Do other countries have organizations like this?