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4/19/2005

APRIL 19th: GEARING UP TO PASS FREE CHOICE ACT

In an effort to reform the nation’s basic labor laws, the union movement is mobilizing to pass the Employee Free Choice Act. A bipartisan group of members of Congress will introduce the act on April 19. Some 57 million U.S. workers say they would join a union if they could, based on research by Peter Hart and Associates. But when workers try to gain a voice on the job by forming a union, employers routinely respond with intimidation, harassment and retaliation. The Employee Free Choice Act would require employers to recognize the union once a majority of workers signed cards authorizing union representation. It would provide mediation and arbitration for first-contract disputes and establish stronger penalties for violation of rights of workers seeking to form unions or negotiate first contracts. The bill was also introduced last year and gained more than 240 co-sponsors, but the Republican leadership would not allow it to go to the floor. “Behind the closed doors of the workplaces of America, workers face incredible—often ruthless—opposition when they try to come together in a union,” said AFL-CIO President John Sweeney. “These employers are literally robbing working people and their communities of better lives.” Visit http://www.aflcio.org/ after 4 p.m. April 19 to view a webcast of the bill’s introduction and to hear from workers whose freedom to form unions and bargain was violated.

Some 42 million U.S. workers say they would join a union if they could. But when workers try to get a voice on the job by forming a union, employers respond with intimidation, harassment and retaliation. And federal law doesn’t address this injustice.

Working families are mobilizing to reform the nation’s labor laws. Members of Congress are backing unprecedented legislation to give workers who want to join unions a fair chance to do so.

The Employee Free Choice Act would ensure that when a majority of employees in a workplace decide to form a union, they can do so without the debilitating obstacles employers now use to block their workers’ free choice. More than 36 senators and 207 House representatives co-sponsored the bills.

The Employee Free Choice Act will:

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