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Rachel Eagleson, Published April 26 2009

Get facts straight about labor act

It is time to get the facts straight on the Employee Free Choice Act.

The aptly named act does not eliminate the worker’s right to a secret ballot in a union election. Under current law, the secret ballot or majority sign-up may be used when forming a union. What is new is this: Workers, not corporations, will now be able to decide which process they want to use to form their union.

The act guarantees that companies can’t drag their feet on a first contract. The current system fails workers 44 percent of the time, in that workers never achieve their goal of a first contract. The act provides a process that includes mediation and arbitration for both worker and management if there are disagreements and addresses them fairly and according to a timeline.

Small businesses are not adversely affected by the act. Most small businesses are already covered by the National Labor Relations Act. Their employees already have the right to organize and collectively bargain. The act does not change that fact.

The bottom line is this: Unions increase wages, which puts money in workers’ pockets, which is spent in the local community, usually at small businesses. Unions strengthen the middle class. In a time when workers are stretched as never before, our country needs a strong middle class.

Help protect workers’ rights by contacting your congressional delegation and urging them to co-sponsor and vote for the Employee Free Choice Act.