Workers Need Employee Free Choice to Get Ahead
Here are two great recent pieces on the need for the Employee Free Choice Act, proposed federal legislation to give workers the tools they need to build a better life for themselves and a strong economy for everyone.
Writing at the Drum Major Institute, Amy Traub says that just investing in training and education isn’t enough to help workers earn their way out of the economic slump and into the middle class. They need the freedom to form a union:
Education alone won’t solve the economic problems underlying the middle-class squeeze. If it were, college graduates would be doing better. And while educated workers are more likely than those without a degree to enjoy a middle-class standard of living, wages for most college graduates have grown sluggishly in recent years and their access to employer-provided health care and pensions has dropped. And then there are the tens of millions of Americans who work at jobs that don’t require a college degree.
The solution, Traub says, is to make sure all workers have the ability to bargain for a fair share and get the leverage they need to ensure they have good pay, good benefits, safe conditions and respect on the job:
The Employee Free Choice Act is a game-changer, directly attacking the systemic problem of employees’ lack of power in the labor market. The impact would boost low-wage service employees struggling to gain a middle-class standard of living as well as college-educated professionals trying to hold onto it…empowering people to join unions directly redistributes economic power back to working people, enabling Americans to win gains for themselves in the workplace.
Writing in the Muncie Star Press, Indiana State AFL-CIO President Ken Zeller calls the Employee Free Choice Act a commonsense update of the nation’s labor laws and a way to make sure workers can get a fair first contract:
Today, many companies refuse to bargain with the union their employees elected to represent them in negotiations because there is no penalty for doing so. The fact is that no CEO works without a contract, so why should workers?
As long as workers are denied a seat at the bargaining table, corporate greed will continue to run roughshod over our economy. The Employee Free Choice Act will give workers the power to bring a measure of democracy back to the workplace.