The Employee Free Choice Act would restore fairness and the promise of the American Dream to millions of people who have been shut out for far too long. This legislation would swell the ranks of the American middle class while being the engine for economic growth and shared prosperity. If passed, this commonsense legislation will help level the playing field by making it easier for workers to choose to form a union to bargain with their employers for better wages, health care and job security. This act will also help employees secure a contract in a reasonable period of time and toughen penalties against employers who violate the law.
The legislation is supported by President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, a majority of U.S. Senators and Representatives, and a majority of the American people. The Teamsters Union also fully supports changing the current company-dominated system for allowing workers to choose a union.
Union Workers Make 28 % more
Working people are struggling to make ends meet today, and are in danger of seeing the American Dream disappear. Too often, corporations and their CEOs aren’t treating workers fairly. They cut back on health care benefits and pay wages that don’t even keep up with the cost of living, while CEO salaries and corporate profits go higher and higher.
“These millionaire CEOs and others fighting the Employee Free Choice Act bully their employees who want a union, but these CEOs wouldn’t work one day without a written contract that protected their benefits” said Tom Keegel, General Secretary-Treasurer.
An important way to help average people get their fair share is to remove unfair barriers to union representation and collective bargaining. The wages of workers in unions are 28 percent higher than those not in unions, and union workers are 62 percent more likely to have employer health coverage, and four times as likely to have a pension.
Setting the Record Straight
The corporate interests against the Employee Free Choice Act have incorrectly portrayed the bill as eliminating workers’ right to a secret ballot election. This is simple not true. The legislation gives workers, not bosses, the choice in how they decide whether to form a union, either through a majority of workers signing cards in support of the union, or through an election.
In reality, the corporate interests, who are opposed to this bill don’t want their employees to have real opportunity of securing fair pay, health insurance, job security and a chance of living the American Dream. Greedy CEOs are engaged in an unprecedented campaign to mislead the public on the Employee Free Choice Act and anyone who supports it.
There are many ways for Teamsters to get involved and show support for this important legislation. Members of Congress and community leaders need to hear from real people why unions are important and the sooner the better. It’s extremely important to let your elected Representatives and Senators know that you support the Employee Free Choice Act. When calling or writing, it’s always helpful to include your own story about how you have benefited from a union, or your own story about management intimidation during a union election.
The web site for the Teamsters Union, at www.teamsters.org
has a wealth of valuable material on writing, e-mailing or talking to your elected representatives. If you want to get directly in touch with congressional representative’s office, you can call the Capitol switchboard at 800- 828-0498 or e-mail them at www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected .shtml
The battle over the bill isn’t only taking place in the halls of Congress. The misinformation campaign is far reaching, with many newspapers running myths about the act as fact. You can help correct those myths while at the same time helping your communities understand why the Employee Free Choice Act is necessary to fix a broken system by writing a letter.
Newspapers welcome letters from readers. You can usually find out how to send a letter to the editor by looking on the newspaper’s opinion page. Sample letters that you can adapt and responses to the most common arguments are on www.teamsters.org
This article is from the Teamsters Leader magazine.