Possibly lost amid the furor over the accusations of mis- and malfeasance in the dismissal of the Elite Eight US Attorneys and allegations that AG Alberto ("Abu") Gonzalez might have lied to Congress, today is the day on which Sen. Ted Kennedy (D.MA) is supposed to introduce the Employee Free Choice Act, the single most important legislation in 70 years to ensure we have the freedom to bargain for better wages, benefits and working conditions. The Kennedy bill is similar to the one that was passed overwhelmingly by the U.S. House a few weeks ago.
Earlier this week, several experts appeared before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions to tell senators why the Employee Free Choice Act is so crucial. Watch video highlights from the hearing here.
Cynthia Estlund, a law professor at the New York University School of Law, points out that the bill would fix current labor law’s “wholly inadequate response to employers’ fiercely aggressive and often illegal response to union organizing drives.”
Lawrence Mishel of the Economic Policy Institute testified on the larger benefits for workers:
By reducing the opportunity for employers to intimidate and discourage workers from unionizing after they have reached a collective decision to do so, the Employee Free Choice Act can help restore and spread the benefits that unions bring to workers and the economy.
It's not just the experts who understand the importance of this bill. The stories of workers like Ivo Camilo and Bill Lawhorn show that some businesses will continue to intimidate workers who want to form unions unless the Employee Free Choice Act becomes law.
Let your senators know you support the Employee Free Choice Act. Click below to take action:
The Employee Free Choice Act will restore a level playing field for workers and employers. It will strengthen penalties against companies that block workers' freedom to choose for ourselves whether to form unions and bargain. It will bring in mediation and arbitration when employees and employers cannot reach a first contract. And it will allow working people to form unions when a majority signs authorization cards--without the conflict, disruption and intimidation employers routinely inflict on us now.
Already, right-wing front groups are trying to mislead the American public about the legislation with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of television ads. But with your help, the Senate can continue the work the House began. Tell your senators you support the Employee Free Choice Act. Click here.
(I copied the foregoing from an e-mail I received today from the Working Families Network of the AFL/CIO.)