- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 5, 2008

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

When one-third of all Americans are struggling to get by in low-income households, Sen. Barack Obama rightly understands the urgency to support a worker´s right to organize a union, one of the most reliable ways to improve pay and benefits (“Obama supports union organizing,” Nation, Thursday).

Unionization raises the wages of the typical low-wage worker by more than 20 percent. Union workers also are 25 percent more likely to have employer-provided health insurance and 25 percent more likely to be in an employer-provided pension than similar nonunion workers in the same low-wage occupations.

Because the number oflow-paying jobswillgrow by5million in the next 10 years, something must be done now. A good place to start is with passage of the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), which wouldcreate a more neutral environment for workers to decide on union membership, free from employer intimidation and retribution.

It also would promote workplace democracy by giving workers an opportunity to obtain a voice in workplace decisions.

The American dream is only possible when hard work is fairly rewarded with respect, dignity and just compensation. Having a job should mean you can make ends meet.

JAIME CONTRERAS

District Chair and Area Director

Local 32BJ Service Employees International Union

Capital Area

Washington

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