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Support the Employee Free Choice Act

Posted by libhom Sunday, August 17, 2008

Corporations use all sorts of dirty tactics to prevent unions from starting in their workplaces. One of them is to fire employees involved in union organizing. Having to pay backpay for an underpaid employee is a small risk compared to the reward of blocking a union, from the perspective of a corrupt corporation.

Firing is only the most dramatic tactic used by employers to intimidate employees. Workplace intimidation is the single biggest cause of the incredibly low unionization rate in America. Wal-Mart is one of the most notorious corporations when it comes to intimidating employees.

The SEIU is joining other labor and human rights organizations in supporting the Employee Free Choice act, which works around corporate abuse of employees who are considering unions. From their Action Alert:

Tens of thousands of workers in America are fired every year for trying to exercise their freedom to form a union. When some workers are denied a voice on the job it violates the American ideal of fairness and equality. And it prevents them from being able to share in the prosperity they have done so much to create.

There’s a bill right now in Congress that would make sure all workers get a fair chance at achieving the American Dream.

The Employee Free Choice Act Will:

* Create a fair playing field that allows all workers the freedom to form unions. With more workers uniting for a voice on the job, we can build our strength to win higher wages for all workers, healthcare for all, and protect our retirement.

* Prevent corporations from illegally firing workers who try to form unions.

* Give workers the same freedoms to negotiate their contracts that CEOs already have.

The mechanism used for union recognition in this legislation involves signing cards, rather than having a ballot all at once. This might not seem important, but having a single ballot on whether or not to have union representation has given corporations a terrible opportunity to use workplace intimidation in order to stop people from exercising their rights to join unions. Signing cards lets each worker make the decision on her/his own, without giving the employer the opportunity to even know who to intimidate until it's too late.

Contact Your Representatives

The stakes are so high that Wal-Mart has been holding intimidation meetings with employees. The goal of those meetings is to pressure employees to vote Republican, since Democrats are more inclined to vote for the Employee Free Choice Act.

 

7 comments

  1. one reason why this idea is such a solid step in the right direction is it removes the onus of responsibility off of the shoulders of the consumer to decide where to ethically spend money based on the degree to which a corporation does or does not support employee unionization.

    it's not fair to expect someone working 2 or 3 jobs to survive to decide to shop elsewhere for his or her child's diapers based on corporate practices when at walmart the diapers are $5-10 cheaper.

    the idea of personal responsibility/action overshadowing the need for legislation and corporate regulation is exactly my issue with the individualization of the green movement, too.

     
  2. libhom Says:
  3. The two are not mutually exclusive. Consumers have a responsibility not to shop at Wal-Mart, and Congress has a responsibility to pass the Employee Free Choice.

    Wal-Mart is an enemy of workers, the environment, free expression, women's rights, small town America, and really of our entire country. Consumers need to fight back.

     
  4. i agree with all of what you're saying about walmart.

    and consumers do need to fight back, agreed, if they possess the means do so. it's ridiculous to expect people who aren't financially secure enough to know if they will have enough money for next month's rent or for the dinner table tonight to take labor issues into consideration when making choices about basic human necessities--especially when these necessities can be procured for grossly lower prices at a place like walmart.

    that said, if one is not living in a situation of financial turmoil and has the means to shop elsewhere, then there's no reason why one shouldn't choose to shop elsewhere.

     
  5. libhom Says:
  6. teach: There is a certain amount of irony in what you are saying. Wal-Mart is the one of the biggest reasons many people are in such financially difficult situations.

     
  7. it's a sad cycle. yes i fully see the irony. and don't think that many don't know and live that irony every day. but i still can't expect people to spend their minimum wage paychecks elsewhere.

    call/write/email their representatives? sure. that only takes a minute--assuming they have access to channels of information that inform them in the first place of the employee free choice act.

    i've worked with plenty-a poor kid, and if it wasn't for a trip to walmart they might not have a clothes, shoes, or school supplies. should their parents abandon their budget in order to align their consumer selves with their ethical stances?

    not trying to beat a dead horse, here, just trying to say that i think in many cases too much is expected of the individual and not enough of the government or corporation, which is why i was so glad to read about the employee free choice act.

     
  8. Anonymous Says:
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    To whom it should concern:

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    How and where gay woman have been the most successful in recruiting.

    HOW:
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    Where?
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    God Bless Us All.

     
  10. Anonymous Says:
  11. How do you respond to concerns raised about EFCA, particularly the idea that by eliminating the need for a secret ballot allows for union intimidation of workers in order to obtain card signatures which would now be solely sufficient to organize?

    EFCA sounds like a good thing if you believe that unions are always good, corporations are always bad and that unions would never try to organize workers that don't want to be unionized.

     

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