One of the greatest vehicles toward change for America‘s workers is the Employee Free Choice Act. Thus, this legislation has become the prime target for anti-worker employers (“It’s in the cards for labor,” Commentary, Sunday). Correcting every distortion from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce takes away from an honest discussion on the state of America’s workers. However, your readers deserve to hear the perspective of those who actually care about workers’ rights.
While the Chamber of Commerce claims that the legislation will eliminate the current union-election system, the bill itself clearly states that it will not. The bill instead provides workers with an alternative, proven system of majority sign-up, giving them the choice in how they choose to form their union. The Chamber also claims that this legislation will open the door to union intimidation. However, research from Adrienne Eaton of Rutgers University reveals that fewer than one in 20 workers report that the presence of a union organizer made them feel pressured to sign up for a union. In fact, workers report 50 percent less employer coercion during majority sign-up than in the current “election” system that favors employers. As for their fear of unions’ effect on businesses, just look at successful employers like AT&T Inc., UPS Inc. and Costco Wholesale Corp. that have proved that businesses can thrive while respecting their workers’ rights.
So why does the Chamber of Commerce so adamantly oppose this legislation? This big-business special-interest group speaks for the portion of corporations that don’t want to provide their workers with a livable wage, health insurance or the opportunity for a better life. The Employee Free Choice Act will give the 60 million workers who want a union a meaningful chance to have one. The Chamber knows this will mean a voice at work for these men and women to fight for their rights, and it is willing to say and do anything to stop it.
MARY BETH MAXWELL
American Rights at Work