Monday, May 11, 2009

This I Believe

Can the middle class survive and achieve the American Dream? The truth is, we can't fix our economy without fixing the health care system, and we can't grow our economy if we don't grow the middle class.

That's why the Northwest Arkansas Labor Council supports health care reform that will bring costs down and guarantee quality, affordable care for everyone. And that's why we support the Employee Free Choice Act.

Americans want an economy that works for everyone, not just bailout bonus CEOs and right wing talk show blowhards. The Employee Free Choice Act will help rebuild the middle class and jumpstart our economy by giving every worker a chance to bargain for decent wages, benefits, and safe working conditions.

Honest businesses know from experience that fair labor standards help achieve higher productivity, less turnover, and a better-trained workforce. They recognize that working people need to have the purchasing power and financial stability to get this economy growing again. America’s workers deserve real labor law reform that will end employer threats, stalling tactics, intimidation and illegal firings of workers who simply want to earn a middle-class lifestyle for themselves and their families.

The corporate lobbyists are promoting The Big Lie that the Employee Free Choice Act would eliminate secret ballots for workers. That simply is not true. It offers workers a choice in forming unions: either hold a secret ballot election or a majority of employees can sign a card joining the union. Opponents really don’t care about the truth. They’re spending $200 million to spread the lie that the bill eliminates secret ballots and make false charges of union intimidation.

Majority card sign up does not cause union intimidation, according to a new study by University of Illinois Professor Robert Bruno . Bruno analyzed Illinois data from 2003-2009 and found that “21,197 public sector workers employed in state, county, municipal and educational institutions voluntarily joined a union. Most importantly, contrary to business claims, in nearly eight hundred petition cases, there was not a single confirmed incidence of union coercion.”

Since passage the National Labor Relations Act of 1935 during Roosevelt’s New Deal, there have been a total of 113 complaints of misconduct filed against labor unions in organizing efforts during the last 74 years, with only 42 of those found to have merit.

On the other hand, in 2007 alone, the National Labor Relations Board documented 29,559 charges of illegal firings and employer discrimination against workers for exercising their federally protected rights.

The Employee Free Choice Act would fix this broken system and restore the promise of the American Dream for working families. It is a key component of our efforts to rebuild the middle class, promote economic growth, and create an economy that works for all Americans.

Call Senator Blanche Lincoln’s Fayetteville office at 251-1224. Let her know that you support health care reform and the Employee Free Choice Act to help working families share in the American Dream. Ask her to stand up for middle class Arkansans.

In solidarity,

Stephen Smith

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