Thursday, August 21, 2008

EFCA--Reclaiming What is Ours

The Employee Free Choice Act will allow working people a greater ability to organize without having to wade through the red tape that is the union recognition process of the NLRB right now. This period of time is crucial to a newly forming union as it is when intimidation, firing, and possibly violence are at its height. The bill also incorporates higher penalties for employers that pursue these despicable tactics. As of now union membership is at an ever increasing low and it seems every turn we are giving up a little more. While this administration refuses to give up the notion that trickle down economics will work-- wage theft is a major issue. This should be an outrage! Not only an outrage but a wake up call.

We live in a modern society in which being paid for one's labor should be without a question, a certainty. However, Kim Bobo, director of Interfaith Worker Justice, testified before the Education and Labor Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives that employers could easily get out of back payment to workers. Researchers sited examples of businesses shutting down and employers simply "not returning the DOL's phone calls" as legitimate causes in which employees were not given past wages. It appears the Department of Labor could take great advice from student loan officers.

But doesn't that piece of legislation sound familiar? Seventy-three years familiar? Well it should because it was the basic premise of the Wagner Act which was passed in 1935. Why then do we need to reestablish this? Because of a little thing called the Taft-Hartley Act.

The Taft-Hartley Act, or its proper name the Labor-Management Relations Act declawed the labor movement. It made all wildcat and solidarity strikes illegal, crushed public support for unions, and forced union leaders to sign affidavits that they were not communists.

Taft-Hartley has been used by many presidents to decimate the efforts of working people. The Employee Free Choice Act is a positive step to reclaiming what is rightfully ours.

Plus on a personal note the Taft-Hartley bill was passed on June 23, 1947. June 23rd is my birthday and I find it insulting.

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