CONCORD, NH - Today, Congressman George Miller (D-CA), chairman of the House Education and Workforce Committee, and Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) introduced the Employee Free Choice Act, a bill that would restore workers’ freedom to form unions and bargain with their employees for fair wages and benefits.
The bill could provide a major boost to the economy by helping workers share in the prosperity that they help create. A report released last month from the Center for American Progress showed that if even 5% more of New Hampshire’s workers joined unions, $82 million would be pumped into the state’s economy each year.
“While corporate CEOs were busy giving themselves raises, millions of us fell further into debt just to make ends meet,” said Tom Chapman, a member of SEIU Local 560 in Hanover. “If we’re going to turn our economy around, we need to rebuild the middle class. I know firsthand the difference being part of a union can make. The Employee Free Choice Act would help create good jobs so we can support our families and keep our economy going.”
Tom is one of the hundreds of workers that descended on Washington D.C. yesterday to push their members of Congress to support the bill.
Congress is expected to take up the legislation, which has the support of President Obama, Vice President Biden, Secretary Solis and majorities in both houses of Congress, this session.
The Employee Free Choice Act has three components:
It restores the option of “majority sign-up,” in addition to elections, to ensure that workers, not employers decide how to form a union. That is, when a majority of workers sign cards saying they want to form a union, this legislation levels the playing field so they have a fair chance to do so;
It creates meaningful penalties for employers who break the law to harass or fire workers;
It ensures that workers have a fair chance at winning a contract guaranteeing their wages and benefits.
A local New Hampshire coalition is also working to support the passage of this legislation. This coalition includes both labor organizations like the New Hampshire AFL-CIO, AFSCME, SEIU, and NEA, as well as community organizations – the New Hampshire Citizens Alliance, Sierra Club, Granite State Organizing Project, and Working Families Win.
“Change That Works,” is a new state-by-state effort by the two-million member Service Employees International Union to bring economic relief to millions across the country, help fix the nation's broken health care system and guarantee workers can freely decide whether to join with their coworkers in a union. For more information, please visit http://www.seiu.org/changethatworks/