Monday, December 22, 2008

10 Facts about the Employee Free Choice Act

From the AFL-CIO:

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

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.

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 (PDF).
  • Establishing stronger penalties for violation of employee rights when workers seek to form a union and during first-contract negotiations.

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

More than three-quarters of Americans—77 percent—support strong laws that give employees the freedom to make their own choice about whether to have a union in their workplace without interference from management (PDF).

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 wages and benefits and a real voice on the job (PDF). 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 the America’s unions.

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.

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.

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.

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.