Employee Act May Free-up Workers to Unionize Against Wall Street
In the United States if you support worker unions you are labeled a
"flaming liberal," and voicing your pro-union view could result in job
loss. This is especially true for employees of Wal-Mart Stores Inc.,
and corporate cubicle techies at IBM. In Europe however those in
support of unions simply desire a balance between the corporate
boardroom and the work place -- name calling is passé.
But now unionization was given its first thumb-ups in Washington DC by
a new Congress on 1 March 2007 under round one of (HR 800) the Employee
Free Choice Act.
The issue for workers in the states since year 2001 has been that
boardrooms off-shore manufacturing jobs to reduce costs and outsource
professional jobs for the same reason resulting in fewer skilled jobs
available at home for the middle class. IBM admits to increasing its
workforce in India by 44 percent in 2006, and replaced head count in
states with new grads, for example. As both manufacturing
and white collar
professions in the United States fail to produce new opportunities in
support of highly educated workers at home, unionization may become
--as teenagers say-- a "cool" way to at least protect what jobs remain
in the United States.
By Wall Street standards unions pose a threat to capitalism, which is
why lawyers and lobbyists from corporate enterprises fought diligently
to "spare no expense to bully lawmakers, misinform the public, and
oppose free choice for workers," ahead of voting on the Employee
Free Choice Act, according to Mary Beth Maxwell, executive director of
American Rights at Work.
The Employee Free Choice Act bill, which was sponsored by Democrat
George Miller (CA,) was passed by the House of Representatives
241-185 -- 13 Republicans voted majority and eight representatives
refused to vote. The bill will now go to the Senate.
Cornell University professor Kate Bronfenbrenner suggested that more
often than not in the United States employers threaten professionals
who talk of unionization, and one third of corporate enterprises coerce
workers into opposing unionization with bribes, employee reviews such
PBCs, and favoritism for advancement at the nation's largest
employer Wal-Mart Stores and Sam's Clubs.
The United States' Chamber of Commerce led the effort to kill the
Employee Free Choice Act Maxwell said. The reason was that the national
Chamber of Commerce's board of directors represents such Wall Street
darlings as: Pepco Holdings, 3M, Pacific Capital Group, The Turner
Corp., Allied Capital Corp., Kirby Financial, Dow Chemical, PepsiCo
Inc., Fluor, United Parcel Service, CNL Financial Group, Bloomberg,
State Farm Insurance, EDS, Deloitte, Lockheed, Verizon, and Pfizer just
to name some members.
"Hard-line business groups were tripping over each other and sparing no
expense," Maxwell said and added that the Chamber of Commerce purchased
misleading radio broadcast segments as well paid for opinion pieces in
daily newspapers threatening economic devastation should the Employee
Free Choice Act pass.
The United Steelworkers union (USW) president Leo W. Gerard praised
passage of the bill calling it a turning point that could give access
to unionism for tens of millions of workers in the United States "who
deserve the freedom to collectively bargain for a better life without
“There is no fear like that of losing your job from a corporate bully
over the simple right of a worker to make a free choice for union
representation without employer intimidation or threats,” Gerard said.
According to Gerard, the choice should belong to employees –- not
employers. "Corporations routinely fire, intimidate and coerce workers
during organizing campaigns. Current labor law is helpless to stop
USW decided that alterations made during hearings to the Employee Free
Choice Act were not radical. "It gives workers, not corporations, the
right to decide how to vote for a union. It makes it harder for
employers to interfere and places real penalties on those that do.
Finally, it provides first contract arbitration for employers who seek
to stall and delay negotiations for wages and benefits," the union
stated in its vote summary report.
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