The right to unions is protected by the Constitution

by Jim Avichouser

I feel like I just took flight. Or maybe I got hit with a ton of bricks. The Constitution of the United States is the law of the land, and most sacred among those laws are the first ten amendments which we call the Bill of Rights. That means a listing of those rights which belong to all citizens no matter what else happens. They must be honored, they must be enforced.

Amendment 1 to the Constitution of the United States of America.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Pretty simple language that most Americans can almost recite from memory. So any law which tries to stop the people from assembling into groups (some might call them unions others call themselves Corporations) in order to petition the government for a redress of grievances is a law which by its very nature is unconstitutional. It is contrary to the law of the land to put any measure into law which strips people of the right of assembly, so that they may be heard in the strength of their numbers. Are you listening Mr. Governor of Wisconsin? Can you hear me now Mr. Tom Luna and Governor Otter. Those laws in which you attempt to stop people from organizing (assembling) in order to make the grievances of their group heard are patently unconstitutional and therefore against the law.  Please notice that they use the plural form “the People”.  Not some guy all by himself, but the people.

It doesn’t take a law degree to recognize this truth. It is written boldly above word for word as written in the Constitution of the United States of America. It is not open for argument. You can’t say something like, well, they are public employees of the government so they don’t have the same rights. They do have the same rights as all citizens and nobody can take those rights away.

We read and hear so much of late about how unions are bad for business. Well, the amendment was not written to preclude laws which might interfere with the right of government to suppress the organizing of workers to petition government. Just the opposite, Government may not take any measures which bar workers (or any other citizens) from assembling themselves in order to be heard as a group or in other words to petition government, and I would assume any other body of authority for a redress of grievances. Carved in stone, not subject to other interpretations.

We have a lot of pundits who shout above everyone else about how the founders of the Constitution are divine and sacred and the words they wrote were imbued with wisdom and almost a foreknowledge of what will be happening right now. Well, here it is in plain English and there will be a whole bunch of you rethinking your statements of late. The Constitution is a document that in its form and substance is not subject to tinkering, unless you think that you will be able to start any process of making amendment to the 1st amendment. I can imagine no congress that would have the gall to try to mess with it in any way. If you insist that the 2nd amendment is valid and not subject to being messed with, you also accept that the 1st amendment is valid and not to be messed with.

I know you’s gots some esplaining to do, so I’ll leave it there. Get back to me with your insults.

Jim Avichouser has won no awards for his columns but he does live in Pocatello, in spite of the company