Freedom of Association

(redirected from Right of Voluntary Association)
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Freedom of Association

 

the right of working people to establish and to join trade unions; also, the freedom of action of the trade unions themselves. The chief meaning of freedom of association is to provide organizations of working people in the capitalist countries with the opportunity to defend the interests of workers and other exploited groups without interference by state authorities or employers’ associations.

Owing to the efforts of the USSR and the other socialist countries, as well as of workers’ organizations of all countries, freedom of association has been internationally recognized. It has been established in such UN documents as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), the Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, and a number of conventions of the International Labor Organization, including the Freedom of Association Convention and the Right to Organize, and the Right to Organize and Collective Bargaining Convention. These documents declare that working people have the right to establish their own organizations without preliminary approval, to elect their own representatives freely, and to formulate programs of action and create federations and confederations.

In actuality, the freedom of association of working people is often limited and violated in the capitalist countries. At the same time, the bourgeoisie attempts to use existing laws on freedom of association to strengthen the influence of employers’ associations, arguing that any guarantees won by workers’ organizations should automatically apply to employers’ associations as well. The demands of trade unions with respect to freedom of association were formulated in the Charter of the Rights of Trade Unions and Socioeconomic Demands of the Workers of the Capitalist Countries in the Current Phase, adopted at the Eighth World Congress of Trade Unions (October 1973).