The United States has a long history of protecting the rights of workers, but the labor laws of the USA are not always fair. In the late 1800s, the United States Supreme Court decided that the right to unionize was a civil right and not a human one. The first successful claim of a union against an employer occurred in 1863. By 1880, employers brought fifteen successful claims against employees. This ruling resulted in the Fair Labor Standards Act, which protects the rights of union members and ensures a minimum standard of living.
In 1938, the Fair Labor Standards Act was passed, which created a legal framework for protecting workers in the non-agricultural sector. The act also established minimum wage standards, prohibited child labor, and stipulated recordkeeping for child laborers. During the 1980s, the laws began to target unions, and this led to declining union membership and the subsequent demonization of the FLSA. The amendments have been criticized as an outdated statute that failed to protect workers.
The United States has long recognized that the labor law is a right to decent living. While the laws in the USA are rooted in the ILO’s Declaration of Human Rights, they are still not perfect. The Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor enforces these rights by enforcing the Immigration and Nationality Act. This law applies to foreign workers in the U.S. who are authorized to work under certain nonimmigrant visa programs.