The country’s leading consumer organizations have called upon the 111th Congress to address the needs of hard working Americans on Main Street and not just the interests of Wall Street by supporting the Employee Free Choice Act.
National groups including NCL, Consumer Action, Consumer Federation of America, Public Citizen, Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety, NACA, Alliance for Justice, and ACORN recently sent a letter to Congress, encouraging members to recognize how corporate greed has hurt consumers and workers.
"We firmly believe that the interests of consumers and employees are closely intertwined and that when the standard of living of workers and consumers improves, entire communities are lifted up.
Corporate greed, as reflected by the crisis in our financial institutions, has severely hurt both communities. Further, the fact that so many families in the current recession are vulnerable to unexpected financial emergencies that are contributing to the rising foreclosure rate can be tied in part to their lack of access to decent wages and health care benefits."
The groups laid out three major consumer benefits of EFCA, including:
- Giving workers a fair and direct path to form unions through majority sign-up. EFCA would require an employer to recognize its employees’ union when a majority has signed union authorization cards. Under current law, management can refuse to recognize a union even when 100 percent of employees have signed authorization cards. After a majority of workers have signed cards, an employer can still call for a separate election. Under the current system, then, the employer gets to decide whether a separate election is necessary.
- Helping employees secure a contract with their employer in a reasonable period of time. Under current law, anti-union employers often drag workers through lengthy negotiations by delaying bargaining sessions, withholding relevant information, and putting forth bogus proposals. Even though these tactics are illegal, there are no effective deterrents to prevent “surface bargaining.” The Employee Free Choice Act will strengthen workers’ ability to achieve a first contract within a reasonable period of time.
- Toughening penalties against employers who violate their workers’ rights. Too many unscrupulous employers get away with breaking labor laws because the current penalties are too weak. The Employee Free Choice Act would increase penalties against employers who illegally fire or retaliate against pro-union workers.
Read the full letter here.