Mendo Island Journal — Timely. Useful. Sometimes Cranky.

Here’s Why We Need the Employee Free Choice Act (Obama, Kennedy, Sanders videos)

In Around the web on May 10, 2009 at 6:09 pm

César Chávez (1927 – 1993)

From Around the web

It’s time to restore the freedom to form unions and bargain for a better life.
From Wikipedia

The Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) (H.R. 1409, S. 560) is pending legislation in the United States. Its text states that it would “amend the National Labor Relations Act to establish an easier system to enable employees to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to provide for mandatory injunctions for unfair labor practices during organizing efforts, and for other purposes.”[1] The latest version was introduced into both chambers of the U.S. Congress on 10 March 2009.[2]

In order for a workplace to organize under current U.S. labor law, the card check process begins when an employee requests blank cards from an existing union, and requests signatures on the cards from his or her colleagues.[3] Once 30% of the work force in a particular workplace bargaining unit has signed the cards, the employer may decide to hold a secret ballot election on the question of unionization.[3] In practice, the results of the card check usually are not presented to the employer until 50 or 60% of bargaining-unit employees have signed the cards.[3] If the employer decides to demand an election, and the majority of votes in the election favor the union, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) will certify it as the exclusive representative of the employees of that particular bargaining unit for the purpose of collective bargaining.

If enacted, the EFCA would change the currently existing procedure to require the NLRB to certify the union as the bargaining representative without directing an election if a majority of employees signed cards.[1] The EFCA would take away employers’ present right to decide whether to use only the card-check process or to hold a secret-ballot election among employees in a particular bargaining unit, and instead give the right to the employees to choose a secret-ballot election in cases where less than a majority of employees has chosen to unionize through card-check.[3][4] The proposed legislation would still require a secret-ballot election when at least 30% of employees petition for an election.[3][5]

The proposed legislation would also establish stricter penalties for employers who violate provisions of the NLRA when workers seek to form a union, and set in place new mediation and arbitration procedures for disputes.
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Senator Bernie Sanders on the Employee Free Choice Act


Beneath the surface of Whole Foods’ fuzzy, progressive image is a company hell-bent on preventing its workers from unionizing.

…There was a time in decades past when liberalism was defined in part by its principled defense of the right to collective bargaining. That liberal tradition was buried by the market-driven neoliberal agenda over the last three decades, allowing companies like Whole Foods to posture as progressive organizations when their corporate policies are based upon violating one of the most basic of civil rights: the right of workers to organize and bargain collectively. Indeed, Whole Foods has ridden its progressive image to absorb its smaller competitors and emerge as a corporate giant.

The Texas Observer argued recently, “People shop at Whole Foods not just because it offers organic produce and natural foods, but because it claims to run its business in a way that demonstrates a genuine concern for the community, the environment, and the ‘whole planet,’ in the words of its motto. In reality, Whole Foods has gone on a corporate feeding frenzy in recent years, swallowing rival retailers across the country. … The expansion is driven by a simple and lucrative business strategy: high prices and low wages.”

Indeed, Whole Foods now stands as the second-largest anti-union retailer in the U.S., behind Wal-Mart. Most of Whole Foods’ loyal clientele certainly would — and should — shudder at the comparison.

See article Is Whole Foods Just Another Evil Corporation? at Alternet

…and Social Inequality Kills at The Guardian
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