Big business lobbies against Employee Free Choice Act that would make it easier to organize a union
US Chamber of Commerce backing anti-union Senators
Sent to me from Joel from The Real News Network
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 3, 2008
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Chamber of Commerce hopes to avoid Employee Free Choice Act
Electing a pro-business Senate may ensure the bill’s failure
Washington DC – Nov 3 – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has spent more than $30 million to attempt getting Republican Senators elected in key states. Ensuring a Republican majority in the Senate would mean potential blockage of the Employee Free Choice Act, a bill that gives workers additional rights with respect to unions.
The bill, introduced in Congress in 2007, won a majority in the House and the Senate but still was not introduced. When the pro-labour bill reached the Senate it was met by Republican filibustering. AFL-CIO director of organizing Stewart Acuff says the pro-business lobbyists are ready to fight the bill again.
“Corporate America is throwing everything they can at this bill,” Acuff said. “They spent $30 million this year and they’ll spend $100-$200 million next year. They’re doing everything they can to stop it.”
Acuff notes the importance of such a bill for workers, stating that the Employee Free Choice Act would allow employees to decide how they indicate their support, or non-support, of the union. UNITE HERE general president Bruce Raynor agrees and says it is time for America to allow these rights.
“It gives workers, for the first time in America, the real right to a union,” he said. “This system is done all over the world . . . we want to restore worker’s rights to organize.”
Raynor notes the historical importance of unions as a reason that America should support this bill being passed and enacted.
“Jobs such as manufacturing ones were not invented as middle class jobs,” Raynor said. “It was unions organizing those factories . . . converting them from poor poverty level wages to middle class wages.”
Moreover, Acuff notes the need for such a bill, since workers currently experience intimidation at the organizing level.
“More than 20,000 per year are retaliated against for exercising union rights,” Acuff said. “The problem with the process is it’s full of intimidation and retaliation.”