Archive for March, 2009

Employee Free Choice Act Introducted in Congress

by Seth Michaels, Mar 10, 2009,  Original Post: Here

The Employee Free Choice Act was introduced in the House of Representatives and Senate today, launching the legislative battle to restore workers’ freedom to form unions and bargain for a better life.

It’s a great day for working families and a sign of the change that America voted for last fall. Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) announced the bill’s launch at the Senate, along with workers whose struggles to form unions illustrate the need to give workers, not bosses, the ability to choose how to form a union, as well as a guarantee of a contract and protection from employer intimidation, coercion and firing.

Photo credit: Rick Reinhard
Sen. Tom Harkin shows how without unions, and the Employee Free Choice Act, America’s workers fall behind.

Deborah Kelly, one of the workers testifying today before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee about the importance of protecting the freedom to form a union, says her union is vital to protect her and her family.

As a line man apprentice for the Chugach Electric Association, I work hard every day, in sometimes dangerous conditions, to provide power to the Anchorage, Alaska, area. I am truly honored to testify before Congress about how I have benefited from joining a union. Thanks to my union, I work with the most highly trained people in the industry and I know I will come home safe every night.

Photo credit: Kaveh Sardari
Workers spoke at today’s press conference for the need to pass the Employee Free Choice Act, including Sharon Harrison from CWA; Kelly Badillo, SEIU; and Deborah Kelly from IBEW.

AFL-CIO President John Sweeney says introduction of this bill is a strong message in support of working families.

Today is a banner day for working Americans, a milestone on the road to rebuilding our nation’s middle class—and it couldn’t come at a more crucial time. We thank the House of Representatives and the Senate for introducing the Employee Free Choice Act, which will restore workers’ freedom to bargain for fair wages, job security, better health care and secure pensions. Special thanks also goes to Congressman Miller, Sen. Kennedy and Sen. Harkin for being the lead sponsors and champions for America’s working families.

We are confident the Employee Free Choice Act is going to become the law of the land.

Carol Pier of Human Rights Watch, one of the dozens of organizations backing the Employee Free Choice Act, says U.S. labor laws need the kind of fair opportunity that workers around the world have.

Weak U.S. labor law effectively denies millions of workers the right to form a union and bargain collectively. Congress should bring worker protections closer to international standards by passing the Employee Free Choice Act.

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What is The Employee Free Choice Act?

UAW members:  Join the Million-Member Mobilization Campaign for the Employee Free Choice Act.  Please show your support by filling this form out here:  E.F.C.A Form.

The Employee Free Choice Act, supported in 2007 by a bipartisan coalition in Congress, would enable working people to bargain for better benefits, wages and working conditions by restoring workers’ freedom to choose for themselves whether to join a union. It would:

  • Remove current obstacles to employees who want collective bargaining.
  • Guarantee that workers who can choose collective bargaining are able to achieve a contract.
  • Allow employees to form unions by signing cards authorizing union representation.

Original Post:  Here

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The System For Forming Unions is Broken

Today, CEOs get contracts that protect their wages and benefits. But some deny their employees the same opportunity. Although U.S. and international laws are supposed to protect workers’ freedom to belong to unions, employers routinely harass, intimidate, coerce and even fire workers struggling to gain a union so they can bargain for better lives. And U.S. labor law is powerless to stop them. Employees are on an uneven playing field from the first moment they begin exploring whether they want to form a union, and the will of the majority often is crushed by brutal management tactics.

Cornell University scholar Kate Bronfenbrenner studied hundreds of organizing campaigns and found that:

  • Ninety-two percent of private-sector employers, when faced with employees who want to join together in a union, force employees to attend closed-door meetings to hear anti-union propaganda; 80 percent require supervisors to attend training sessions on attacking unions; and 78 percent require that supervisors deliver anti-union messages to workers they oversee.
  • Seventy-five percent hire outside consultants to run anti-union campaigns, often based on mass psychology and distorting the law.
  • Half of employers threaten to shut down partially or totally if employees join together in a union.
  • In 25 percent of organizing campaigns, private-sector employers illegally fire workers because they want to form a union.
  • Even after workers successfully form a union, in one-third of the instances, employers do not negotiate a contract.

Original Post:  Here

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Why Workers Need the Freedom to Form Unions and Bargain

Joining together in a union to bargain for health care, pensions, fair wages and better working conditions is the best opportunity working people have to get ahead.

Today, good jobs are vanishing and health care coverage and retirement security are slipping out of reach. Only 38 percent of the public says their families are getting ahead financially and less than a quarter believes the next generation will be better off.

But workers who belong to unions earn 28 percent more than nonunion workers. They are 52 percent more likely to have employer-provided health coverage and nearly three times more likely to have guaranteed pensions.

All workers should have the freedom to decide for themselves whether to form unions to bargain for a better life.

Original Post: Here

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Bail out recipients hosted call to defeat key labor bill

This article is from the Huffington post Here.  There is audio snippets of the conversation on this site.  WARNING: strong language

Participants on the October 17 call — including at least one representative from another bailout recipient, AIG — were urged to persuade their clients to send “large contributions” to groups working against the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), as well as to vulnerable Senate Republicans, who could help block passage of the bill.

These are people using tax dollars to influence senators. OUR money for THEIR will

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