Today’s introduction of the Employee Free Choice Act in the U.S. House and Senate was a long-awaited day for working families and those concerned about the freedom to form unions.
The bill has widespread support, including a broad coalition of allies from the civil rights, religious, environmental and human-rights community.
Here’s what some of these groups had to say about the Employee Free Choice Act.
Christine L. Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project:
Workers have a fundamental right to join together into unions, but any semblance of a free and fair process for exercising that right is destroyed by ruthless employer opposition to organizing and a legal framework favoring employers every step of the way. By insisting that workers alone get to decide whether to form a union and the process for making that choice, the Employee Free Choice Act will renew workplace democracy, improve jobs, strengthen the economy and rebuild America’s middle class.
The green economy holds great promise to build the American middle class. One way to ensure that it benefits the many, rather than the few, is by passing the Employee Free Choice Act.
National Partnership for Women & and Families:
With our nation’s work/family policies badly out of sync with the realities of this era, and the economy taking a terrible toll on families, the National Partnership for Women & Families strongly supports the Employee Free Choice Act because it has the potential to dramatically improve working conditions of millions of women and men around the country. Union participation improves wages, health coverage, pensions and other benefits that hard-working Americans need to hold jobs and care for their families and their health.
Center for American Progress Action Fund:
The Employee Free Choice Act holds the promise of restoring workplace democracy for workers attempting to organize, boosting unionization rates and improving the economic standing and workplace conditions for millions of American workers.
People for the American Way:
The Employee Free Choice Act supports important American values around workers’ rights to association. It provides workers a free and fair choice about how to form a union, helps workers secure their first contract in a reasonable amount of time and toughens penalties against employers that violate the law. This is a sound and measured approach to restoring workers’ rights—and to rebuilding and renewing our nation’s economy.
Deepak Bhargava, executive director of the Center for Community Change:
Our economy can only prosper when it works for everyone. Especially in difficult times, American communities have a history of meeting challenges by coming together. The rise of corporate greed and irresponsibility has created the worst economic crisis in this nation since the great depression. It’s time that we empower American families and working people to hold corporations accountable. Through unions, workers come together to balance their voices with the power of companies, and to build an economy that works for all of us.
National Consumers League:
The National Consumers League is proud to join with our labor friends and other national consumer groups in supporting the Employee Free Choice Act. Consumer groups understand that the fair wages, benefits, and protections that union workers receive allow them to have a decent standard of living and be better informed consumers. That is good for America, and that is why NCL supports the Employee Free Choice Act.
The Employee Free Choice Act is the cornerstone of an economy that serves working families. The right to organize is foundational to Catholic social teaching. Catholics United stands with working families and supports the passage of the Employee Free Choice Act.
Jobs with Justice:
The Employee Free Choice Act is an issue not only for workers but also for their communities. When workers are fired for organizing on the job, the effects ripple through their families, their churches and their neighborhoods. When workers can choose a union through a fair process, it creates a stable and prosperous community. That’s why Jobs with Justice supports the Employee Free Choice Act as a necessary part of a broad economic recovery that benefits working men and women.
Gabriela Lemus, executive director of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement:
Latino workers will strongly benefit from the passage of the Employee Free Choice Act. It will assist them in their efforts to organize at the workplace, which in turn will ensure better wages, health benefits and the opportunity for a secure retirement. The introduction and ultimate passage of this legislation will help move workers into the middle class and thus help reinvigorate the economy.
Paula Brantner, executive director of Workplace Fairness:
The Employee Free Choice Act is the best stimulus package we have. Workers with good jobs, benefits and job security are able to confidently spend their earnings and help lift our economy out of this recession.
Kim Bobo, executive director of Interfaith Worker Justice:
As people of faith, we must stand with workers in their struggles and ensure that they are protected and can provide for themselves and their families. One of the most effective means to ensure workers’ protection is for them to join a union. Union representation is a vehicle to reduce poverty for workers in low-wage jobs, provide health care and pension benefits for families, and provide workers a role in workplace decisions. Furthermore, our religious traditions address the need for freedom in the workplace, basic human dignity and a voice at work. Our traditions affirm the right of workers to freely organize themselves: all workers have the right to form a union without fear or harassment. The Employee Free Choice Act will restore workers’ freedom to form and join unions.
Robert Borosage, co-director of Campaign for America’s Future:
The Employee Free Choice Act will help restore the right of workers to organize in this country. Over the last decades, that basic right has been shredded, as companies waged open warfare on union organizing, and administrations often failed to enforce the laws protecting that right.
But the Employee Free Choice Act isn’t just about worker rights. It’s about whether we can return to an economy with a broad middle class….It will be a critical building block of the new economy that we must construct from the ashes of the old.