March 10, 2009
Randi Weingarten, President, American Federation of Teachers,
On Employee Free Choice Act
WASHINGTON—America's economic well-being is directly tied to that of its workforce. Strong unions, like investments in crucial programs and increased access to healthcare, are central to the future of the country. Unions allow workers to share in the prosperity they help create, expanding the middle class and strengthening America. The Employee Free Choice Act would give important protections to workers who want to form a union without interference from employers who often ruthlessly beat back workers' efforts to unionize.
The fierce and dishonest campaign to derail EFCA has been spearheaded by business interests determined to keep the balance of power tilted in their favor. They have misled the public into thinking that EFCA would deny workers the option of a secret-ballot union election. The truth is that, under the legislation, workers could decide to have either a secret-ballot election or a "card check," in which a union is formed with a majority of workers' signatures. EFCA will level the playing field by reaffirming the principle that every employee must have a free choice to join a union and bargain for better wages, healthcare and pension benefits, and for more of a say in the workplace.
The AFT appreciates the leadership of Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) on this issue. We urge Congress to pass this legislation immediately and to send it to the president's desk for his signature and enactment into law.
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The AFT represents more than 1.4 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.