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Friday, August 29, 2008

Employee Free Choice Act

The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) supports the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), introduced by Senator Edward Kennedy (S. 842) and Representative George Miller (H.R. 1696). The purpose of this legislation is to level the playing field between employers and workers. This would be accomplished by providing majority card check verification (when a majority of workers sign cards indicating their support for a union) and stiffer penalties for employers that violate workers’ rights during the course of organizing campaigns or when workers negotiate their first contract.
U.S.labor law guarantees workers the right to join together in unions and bargain collectively with their employers. However, when workers attempt to organize in today’s environment their efforts are often thwarted by employer tactics designed to harass, coerce, and intimidate. These tactics suppress workers’ rights to organize a union. As currently constructed, U.S.labor law unfairly advantages employers and therefore employers violate the law with impunity and without reproach.

During a union election, employers have forced employees to sit through one-sided anti-union presentations in captive audience meetings and closed-door one-on-one meetings. Employers make illegal threats of plant closures, threaten to discharge workers, and often do fire them. Often a company will spend thousands of dollars on consultants, whose purpose is to intimidate employees to prevent them from exercising their right to organize. While many of these tactics are illegal and unethical, the law offers little redress because the remedies are so weak. For example, when the charges are upheld for illegally fired workers, the only sanction is reinstatement and back wages for the years of injustice.

The National Labor Relations Act is broken and must be fixed. EFCA would allow card check, prevent employer coercion or illegal conduct by providing stronger penalties for violations; discourage illegal firing of workers; and prevent employers from refusing to negotiate a first contract with workers. UFCW continues to lobby for new cosponsors for this important labor bill.

It is time to return balance to our labor laws by enabling employees to form or join labor organizations of their choosing and to provide for meaningful penalties for unfair labor practices during organizing efforts.

UFCW is asking every member of Congress to become a cosponsor of EFCA S. 842/ H.R. 1696.

Please show your support by signing a pledge card today at:

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