Thursday, April 02, 2009

Supporting Partners of the Employee Free Choice Act

Supporting Partners of the Employee Free Choice Act
Josh Goldstein
American Rights at Work

Sierra Club: “The green economy holds great promise to build the American middle-class. One way to ensure that it benefits the many rather than the few is by passing the Employee Free Choice Act.”

Human Rights Watch: "Weak US labor law effectively denies millions of workers the right to form a union and bargain collectively. Congress should bring worker protections closer to international standards by passing the Employee Free Choice Act."

Sojourners: “The “right to organize” is what is at stake with the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), and it is why the Employee Free Choice Act is fundamentally a moral issue. It is a way to level the playing field, to give workers a collective voice in the wages, benefits, and conditions of their employment. It is a way to ensure their basic human dignity.” - Reverend Jim Wallis, President

National Partnership for Women and Families: "With our nation's work/family policies badly out-of-sync with the realities of this era, and the economy taking a terrible toll on families, the National Partnership for Women & Families strongly supports the Employee Free Choice Act because it has the potential to dramatically improve working conditions of millions of women and men around the country. Union participation improves wages, health coverage, pensions, and other benefits that hard-working Americans need to hold jobs and care for their families and their health." - Debra Ness, President

Center for American Progress Action Fund: “The Employee Free Choice Act holds the promise of restoring workplace democracy for workers attempting to organize, boosting unionization rates, and improving the economic standing and workplace conditions for millions of American workers.”

People for the American Way: The Employee Free Choice Act supports important American values around workers’ rights to association. It provides workers a free and fair choice about how to form a union, helps workers secure their first contract in a reasonable amount of time, and toughens penalties against employers that violate the law. This is a sound and measured approach to restoring workers’ rights – and to rebuilding and renewing our nation’s economy.

Center for Community Change: “Our economy can only prosper when it works for everyone. Especially in difficult times, American communities have a history of meeting challenges by coming together. The rise of corporate greed and irresponsibility has created the worst economic crisis in this nation since the great depression. It’s time that we empower American families and working people to hold corporations accountable. Through unions, workers come together to balance their voices with the power of companies, and to build an economy that works for all of us.”- Deepak Bhargava, Executive Director

National Consumers League: The National Consumers League is proud to join with our labor friends and other national consumer groups in supporting the Employee Free Choice Act. Consumer groups understand that the fair wages, benefits, and protections that union workers receive allow them to have a decent standard of living and be better-informed consumers. That is good for America and that is why NCL supports the Employee Free Choice Act.

Alliance for Justice: "Union members have been a key voice for all Americans on issues like affordable health care, public education, green jobs, and equal opportunity. Restoring the freedom to choose a union is a key to getting America back on track... Congress should pass the Employee Free Choice Act to help strengthen workers' ability to win justice at work and in our communities." - Nan Aron, President

Catholics United: “The Employee Free Choice Act is the cornerstone of an economy that serves working families. The right to organize is foundational to Catholic social teaching. Catholics United stands with working families and supports the passage of the Employee Free Choice Act.”

National Employment Law Project: “Workers have a fundamental right to join together into unions, but any semblance of a free and fair process for exercising that right is destroyed by ruthless employer opposition to organizing and a legal framework favoring employers every step of the way. By insisting that workers alone get to decide whether to form a union and the process for making that choice, the Employee Free Choice Act will renew workplace democracy, improve jobs, strengthen the economy and rebuild America’s middle class. This simple and just measure will at long last genuinely restore “the right of employees to organize and bargain collectively.” - Christine L. Owens, Executive Director

Jobs with Justice: “The Employee Free Choice Act is an issue not only for workers but also for their communities. When workers are fired for organizing on the job the effects ripple through their families, their churches, and their neighborhoods. When workers can choose a union through a fair process it creates a stable and prosperous community. That’s why Jobs with Justice supports the Employee Free Choice Act as a necessary part of a broad economic recovery that benefits working men and women.”

Economic Policy Institute: "The evidence suggests that more than 50 million Americans who don’t have union representation today would choose it if they were given an easy, safe way to do so," he said. "This legislation is an essential part of rebuilding the middle class in America and ensuring broadly shared prosperity."- Ross Eisenbrey, Vice-President

Campaign for America's Future: "We built a middle class because workers were able to win a decent share of the profits and productivity that they helped to generate. Unions were central to that. That is why passage of the Employee Free Choice Act is so important now, as we make the reforms needed to build an economy that works for the many and not the few." - Robert Borosage, Co-Director

The Partnership for Working Families: Millions of Americans are in economic crisis, facing the loss of their jobs, their health care, and their homes. The Employee Free Choice Act is a critical step toward rebuilding the middle class and will restore balance to our economy and our country.

Labor Council for Latin American Advancement: "Latino workers will strongly benefit from the passage of the Employee Free Choice Act. It will assist them in their efforts to organize at the workplace which in turn will ensure better wages; health benefits and the opportunity for a secure retirement. The introduction and ultimate passage of this legislation will help move workers into the middle class and thus help reinvigorate the economy." Dr. Gabriela Lemus, Executive Director

Workplace Fairness: “The Employee Free Choice Act is the best stimulus package we have. Workers with good jobs, benefits and job security are able to confidently spend their earnings and help lift our economy out of this recession.” - Paula Brantner, Executive Director

USAction: “One key to economic recovery is rebuilding the middle class in this country and that’s why we need the Employee Free Choice Act. Big business and CEOshave too much power, make too much money and wield too much influence. They get golden parachutes and bailouts while the workers get lower wages, higher health care costs and reduced pensions. So the Employee Free Choice Act is about leveling the playing field.” - William McNary, President

Pride at Work: "It is still legal to fire someone for being Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender in 30 states. In states without non-discrimination legislation, labor unions are the LGBT community's front line of defense against workplace discrimination. This is why so many national LGBT organizations have signed on in support of the Employee Free Choice - because an LGBT workers best protection is a union contract." - Sandra Telep, Program Director

Interfaith Worker Justice: “All faith traditions teach that workers should be treated with respect and dignity and paid fairly. Unions serve vital roles in ensuring workers' just treatment and pay, which is why Interfaith Worker Justice supports the Employee Free Choice Act. In this time of economic crisis, workers need a voice in the future of their companies that comes through collective bargaining.” - Kim Bobo, Executive Director

Bishop Gabino Zavala: “The right of workers to freely associate and form unions without fear of intimidation or retaliation is consistent with the democratic principles that sustain our society and ensure the quality of life for its citizens. This right is also consistent with the precepts and teaching of the Roman Catholic tradition.”

Rabbi Robert Marx: “The Employee Free Choice Act offers an important opportunity to offer more than words to support the just goals of millions of working people.”

Rev. Dr. Frank Raines: “By empowering workers, the Employee Free Choice Act will enable more people to earn better wages and improve working conditions that will allow them to lift up their families.”

Imam Mahdi Bray and Hussam Ayloush: "An Islamic Perspective on the Employee Free Choice Act" available at Interfaith Worker Justice

Rev. Dr. William Jarvis Johnson: “Discourse about work and the plight of workers is sacred discourse that belongs in the pulpit and in churches all across this country.”

Rev. Aaron McEmrys: “The word "union" best describes what happens when groups of individuals come together in a spirit of mutual support, respect and love. In this sense, the concept of union is one of the most beautiful and spiritual words in my vocabulary.”

For more faith spokespersons, visit Interfaith Worker Justice.

Catholic Labor Network Organizing Committee Employee Free Choice Act Endorsement Statement:

Well over a century ago, with the rise of industrial capitalism, Pope Leo XIII issued his encyclical Rerum Novarum. Reflecting on how the modern economy too often offered the rich and powerful an opportunity to exploit working people, he took consolation in the multiplication of “workingmen’s unions” that helped ameliorate the condition of labor. “There are not a few associations of this nature,” the Holy Father observed, “but it were greatly to be desired that they should become more numerous and more efficient.”

But we live today in a nation where associations of this nature are becoming steadily fewer, in large measure because of widespread unlawful action by employers to obstruct the right of workers to organize in unions. Conservative estimates indicate that tens of thousands of workers are fired every year for exercising their lawful right to organize. Seeking a union under today’s National Labor Relations Act system is an arduous and dangerous process for employees if their employers object, yet penalties for violating the Act are so trivial as to create economic incentives for illegal union-busting activities.

Catholic social teaching on the right of workers to organize has been admirably consistent over the century since Leo XIII wrote, with John Paul II observing even more emphatically in his 1981 encyclical “Laborem Exercens” that labor unions are “indeed a mouthpiece for the struggle for social justice” and in fact “an indispensible element of social life.”

We in the Catholic Labor Network agree that trade unions represent “an indispensable element of social life” and that “it were greatly to be desired that they should become more numerous,” but that the current condition of labor law in the United States militates against this. The Employee Free Choice Act would help address this problem. For this reason, we in the Catholic Labor Network conclude that the Employee Free Choice Act represents a sound public policy method to effect the purposes of Catholic Social Teaching.

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