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Does ACORN violate the ACORN People's Platform?

The answer is, most certainly, "yes". The People's Platform was conceived at ACORN's 1978 Memphis Convention and ratified at the 1979 St. Louis Convention. In 1990, in celebration of ACORN's twentieth anniversary, ACORN members around the country met in order to revise and update the platform. The resulting document was approved by the Executive Committee of the Association board and ratified by acclamation at the 1990 Chicago Convention. Provisions of this platform that ACORN has violated are featured in italics. As you can see, the violations are many.

Work and Worker's Rights

Every person who wants to work has a right to a job - a job which pays a living wage and offers opportunities for advancement. Those who cannot work - the elderly, the disabled, single parents with small children - should receive enough income to afford them the basic necessities and allow them to live with dignity.

I. Charge private industry with job creation and job training:

  • Require companies which reap a large profit to hire and train the unemployed.
  • Require companies which receive contracts from the government to hire and train the unemployed, and -- if they are engaged in projects in low and moderate income communities -- to hire first from the community.
  • Require companies which make workers "obsolete" through technological change and automation to retrain these workers in new, employable skills at company expense.
  • Require private industry to use the technology which creates the most jobs and uses natural resources most efficiently.

II. Charge government and big business with the final responsibility for full employment:

  • Create a national youth entitlement program which guarantees a part time job and skill training to any youth who remains in school.
  • Establish a community job corps in every low income neighborhood.
  • Require all government funded job projects based in local communities to give preference in hiring to residents of those communities.
  • Mandate that all government funded job training be in trades which currently offer opportunities for employment, and are likely to offer employment opportunities in five years as well.
  • Ensure that public employment isn't "make-work" in character; mobilize youth and the unemployed to do the work that needs to be done in America, such as rehabilitating housing, repairing the railroads, providing public transportation for the elderly, cleaning up the environment, dispensing health care as a paramedic, and providing day care for the children of working parents.

III. Provide an adequate income to every American:

  • Guarantee a minimum annual family income at a figure equivalent to the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics "medium living standard," adjusted for inflation.
  • Extend minimum wage coverage to all wage earners and peg increases in it to the cost of living.
  • Reform public benefits programs (social security, welfare, disability, etc.) by:
    • Allowing more outside earnings as an incentive to work.
    • Preventing increased income payments from being erased by automatic increases in public housing , Medicare premiums, and food stamp payments.
    • Providing automatic increases pegged to the cost of living.
    • Establish minimum standards applicable throughout the nation.
  • Make pensions transferable from job to job.
  • Establish national standards for disability under workman's compensation.
  • Base unemployment payments on the size of the unemployed worker's family.

IV. Establish the fundamental rights of workers, to include:

  • The right to a job which does not endanger health or safety.
  • The right to a job which is accessible from home.
  • The right to a job which does not require overtime work as a condition of employment.
  • The right to company or government financed child care for the worker's children.
  • The right to a fair grievance procedure. Most fundamentally, the right to organize, which is to be promoted by:
    • Extending the National Labor Relations Act coverage to all workers.
    • Streamlining the union election and certification process.
    • Restricting the use of anti-strike injunction by courts.
    • Providing stiff penalties--back wages times five--for employers who fire or demote workers for their organizing activities.
  • The right to company or government financed health insurance.

V. Reform the National Labor Relations Act:

For workers

  • Permit:
    • sympathy strikes
    • secondary boycotts
    • picketing to support sympathy strikes and secondary boycotts.
  • Permit automatic union certification when a majority of a bargaining unit has signed authorization cards.
  • Permit workers to refuse to handle "Struck work".
  • Permit striking workers to receive unemployment compensation, welfare, and food stamps.

For management:

  • Prohibit the hiring of temporary replacements to fund anti-union campaigns.
  • Prohibit all lockouts.
  • Regulate management consultation.
  • Regulate management consultants:
    • Require consultants to file financial disclosure forms with state labor departments.
    • Prohibit the use of tax dollars to fund anti-union campaigns.
  • Prohibit employers from forcing workers to listen to anti-union campaigns.
  • Require management to negotiate over what the National Labor Relations Board now calls "permissive subjects": Sale of the company, work schedules, pricing, choice of suppliers, organization of management, etc.
  • Prohibit the use of bankruptcy as a tool to throw out valid collective bargaining agreements.

VI. Guarantee Women's Rights

  • Women should receive equal pay for comparable work.
  • Punish sexual harassment with:
    • Immediate dismissal for individuals found guilty of sexual harassment.
    • Heavy fines and mandatory corrective action for companies found guilty of tolerating a pervasive pattern of sexual harassment.
  • Require companies to compensate women workers who must take time off to recover from severe harassment--e.g. assault, or rape.

VII. Protect Families

  • Both men and women should receive paid leave for the birth or adoption of a child.
  • Require employers to offer flexible work schedules and full pay to workers who must care for relatives.

VIII. Protect All Workers

  • Part-time and temporary workers should receive proportionately the same benefits as full-time workers.
  • Workers in unorganized work sites should be able to join unions, and receive the benefits of union membership.
  • All workers whether public or private, in small or large numbers, should have the legal right to:
    • Organize;
    • Bargain Collectively;
    • Strike when necessary;
  • and these rights should be under the full protection of the law.