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10 Key Facts about the Employee Free Choice Act

1. America’s workers want to form unions. Research shows nearly 60 million would form a union tomorrow if given the chance.

2. Too few ever get that chance because employers routinely block their efforts to form unions—and our current legal system is too broken to stop them. As many as one-quarter of employers illegally fire workers who try to form unions.

3. The Employee Free Choice Act would give workers a fair chance to form unions to improve their lives by:

* Allowing them to form unions by signing cards authorizing union representation.
* Providing mediation and arbitration for first-contract disputes.
* Establishing stronger penalties for violation of employee rights when workers seek to form a union and during first-contract negotiations.

4. In the 110th Congress, the Employee Free Choice Act had widespread support.

5. More than three-quarters of Americans—78 percent—support strong laws that make it easier for employees to bargain for better health care, pensions, wages and working conditions.

6. Allowing working people to choose for themselves whether to have a union is the key step toward rebuilding America’s middle class. Union membership brings better benefits and fair wages and a real voice on the job. It’s no accident that the 25-year decline in workers’ wages in our country has paralleled a 25-year slide in the size of America’s unions.

7. The Employee Free Choice Act would put democracy back into the workplace. Majority sign-up would ensure the decision whether to form a union was made by majority choice, not by the employer unilaterally.

8. Workers can still vote under the Employee Free Choice Act. At any time, if 30 percent of the workers want an election, they can have one. And once they have a union, workers also vote to elect their union representatives.

9. The Employee Free Choice Act has the support of hundreds of respected organizations and individuals—major religious denominations, academics and civil and human rights groups and others.

10. The AFL-CIO union movement is working in many ways to restore good jobs, health care and retirement security—but passing the Employee Free Choice Act is our top priority because we cannot create balance for working people or rebuild the middle class unless workers genuinely have the freedom to form unions for a better life.

Source: AFL-CIO


Eric Schansberg said…
One big problem: the elimination of secret ballots is hard to justify and will likely be perceived as pandering to a special interest group.

One clarification: wages have been stagnant since the mid-1970s, although compensation has steadily increased (given the shift toward tax-free fringe benefits). Private sector unions have been declining for more than 50 years. So, one cannot even assert correlation between compensation and unions overall.
Charlie Averill said…
Eric, you forgot to read number eight.

If one-third of workers want to have an NLRB election at their workplace, they can still ask the federal government to hold an election. The Employee Free Choice Act simply gives them another option—majority sign-up.

“Elections” may sound like the most democratic approach, but the NLRB process is nothing like democratic elections in our society—presidential elections, for example—because one side has all the power. The employer controls the voters’ paychecks and livelihood, has unlimited access to speak against the union in the workplace while restricting pro-union speech and has the freedom to intimidate and coerce the voters.

On January 28 the New York Times reported with the headline “Union Membership Up Sharply in 2008” which stated that according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Union membership in the United States rose last year by the largest amount in a quarter-century, a gain of 428,000 members…so union membership is rising.
I am beginning to notice that the people who talk as if they’re anti-union seem to be those who consider themselves professionals and already have a contract themselves.
Ref: your comment, “given the shift towards tax-free fringe benefits” – all I can do is laugh.
Eric Schansberg said…
The NYT article is not completely clear (since it does not provide the relevant percentage). But the article does make clear that the bulk of the increase in numbers was public sector union members.

To be clear, I'm not anti-union any more than I'm anti-any-other-cartel. I do have a problem with those who pursue policies that benefit themselves at the expense of others. I wish others shared that passion consistently.

Its often rhetorically useful but ignorant or dishonest to ignore the role of FB's within compensation. It is a significant part of the cost of labor and the benefit to the worker-- and has increased a lot since the 1970s.

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