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Guest Post: The New War on Unions, Pt. 3 of 3 — When a Label Means You Have No Rights

Ten years ago, I was a police auxiliary. The first thing we did after graduation was to get our union cards. A union card meant there was someone looking out for me — a group of people I could rely on to defend my rights.

But what if someone could take all those protections away, just with a label?

A decision last week by conservative appointees to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) means that large, out-of-state corporations can use labels to cheat workers out of their protections under the law.

Here’s how this deception works: labor laws typically protect employees. But if you’re an independent contractor, all those protections go away.

If an employer deliberately mislabels you as an independent contractor just to evade the labor laws, your rights are in trouble.

Last Thursday, the conservative members of the NLRB said that it doesn’t violate the law if an employer suddenly announces that you’re an independent contractor — even if the employer is wrong!

The decision takes power away from workers and hands it to businesses.

But it’s not the end of the story. In Montana, we can fight against these legal tactics to undermine workers. No one should be allowed to evade the law by deliberately mislabeling and misleading workers.

As Attorney General, I will be a vigilant ally — prepared not only to assist in efforts to ensure that workers get justice but also to go farther and fight for the equal protection and individual dignity that all Montana workers deserve.

Access to labor protections is an issue of equality. The rights to organize, collectively bargain, and have workplace protections are the very building blocks of a fair economy. You can count on me being with you and standing up for you. Not just on Labor Day weekend, but every day.

I hope that this series has helped to highlight some of the ways that workers in America are under attack. Often it’s the very legal system meant to protect us that’s used against us. That’s why we need an Attorney General who works for us.

Read parts one and two here.

If you appreciate an independent voice holding Montana politicians accountable and informing voters, and you can throw a few dollars a month our way, we would certainly appreciate it.

About the author

Raph Graybill

Raph Graybill is a Democratic Candidate for Montana Attorney General. He was born in Great Falls and is currently Governor Bullock’s Chief Legal Counsel.

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