Formed in September 2009, Move to Amend (https://movetoamend.org/) is a coalition of hundreds of organizations and hundreds of thousands of individuals committed to social and economic justice, ending corporate rule, and building a vibrant democracy that is genuinely accountable to the people, not corporate interests.
We are calling for an amendment to the US Constitution to unequivocally state that inalienable rights belong to human beings only, and that money is not a form of protected free speech under the First Amendment and can be regulated in political campaigns.
It’s clear that among the greatest threats to justice and democracy in our nation is the growing power of corporations, shielded by never intended constitutional rights, to influence elections, laws and regulations. These ever-expanding constitutional “rights” allow corporations to overturn democratically enacted laws and regulations protecting workers, consumers and communities.
Move to Amend seeks resolutions from labor organizations in support of the We the People Amendment, H.J.R. 48 (https://movetoamend.org/wethepeopleamendment) to end all corporate constitutional rights as well as the equally bizarre constitutional doctrine that political money in elections is equivalent to 1st Amendment-protected “free speech.” We also respectfully request opportunities to collaborate on educating our respective constituencies on the interconnections between the declining rights and opportunities of working people to livable wages, fair benefits, safe working conditions, and organizing at the workplace and the increasing rights and powers of corporations to govern in our society.
Why should labor unions support the effort to end corporate constitutional rights?
• Unions can’t compete with corporate treasuries
Abolishing corporate personhood would empower Congress and the states to regulate spending from the treasury of corporations, unions and other non-profits, and all other artificial entities established by law or recognized as being regulated under the National Labor Relations Act or under state law. Unions can never compete against corporate treasuries like the Koch Brothers or Fortune 500 companies that bankroll elections to attack working families, legislation aimed at protecting collective bargaining rights, or raising wages. Reduced pressure to compete in the political spending war will free up union resources to organize more shops and better represent members.
• Harmful corporations can be held accountable
If corporations cannot claim Constitutional rights it will allow Congress and the states to discern between different kinds of corporations based on previous actions (like labor violations), size, structure, or ownership. Currently corporations can use the 14th Amendment to shield themselves from being treated differently under the law, even if their impact on a community is wholly different from locally-owned businesses or businesses that follow the law. Corporations use corporate personhood to shield themselves from labor and environmental regulations. This includes existing regulations like the Occupational Safety and Health Act and the Environmental Protection Act, as well as local regulations aimed at protecting workers and the environment. States and local communities will be free to pass legislation that treats unionized businesses differently than non-unionized businesses.
• Unions don’t benefit from corporate personhood like corporations do
Courts already treat unions and corporations differently already, and have ruled many times that unions don’t have personhood the same way that corporations do.
• Unions will be in a better position to protect their members
If corporate personhood is abolished, unions will be in a better position to assert worker’s rights due to case law already established that unions are an extension of their workers as opposed to a separate entity with its own rights. Abolishing corporate constitutional rights would not empower Congress to prevent unions from asserting the individual rights of its members in collective bargaining, litigation or any other action that is brought to secure the constitutional rights of union members.
Move to Amend looks forward to communicating with any national and international labor union to explore meaningful opportunities to collaborate. Engage us! If interested, please contact Greg Coleridge, National Outreach Director, at greg [at] movetoamend.org
End Corporate Rule. Legalize Democracy. Move to Amend.