We live in a democracy in the United States, except for half our waking lives spent on the job. It's only in a small percentage of unionized workplaces that we have any rights to freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, due process and other rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. Conditions in the average workplace more closely resemble those of fascism with a supreme leader, a strict military-style hierarchy and no right to vote or dissent.

Even many unions - our best hope - are afflicted with an anti-democratic mentality when it comes to treatment of their members and staff. Some of the most anti-union employers when confronted by unionization of their employees are unions. Even some progressive union leaders refuse to acknowledge that their employees have the right to a union. In many unions, members are denied the basic rights to elect their steward and officers (unless they come to a meeting), elect a bargaining committee or vote on a contract.

The UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights (including labor rights) is 50 years old and still just a dream for much of the world's population.

The Association for Union Democracy is dedicated to fighting for democracy and fair play in all unions.

Labor Notes is a monthly magazine that fights for the rank-and-file and for union democracy.

Andy Stern and others on union democracy and the lack of need for it in the union.

The Teamsters for a Democratic Union fight for union democracy and independence from outside interference in one of the largest international unions.

Mike Drake's Dues News focuses on problems in just one union, the CWA local in Orange County. Every local union should have a Mike Drake!