As members of Congress return home for the Presidents Day recess, working families are launching a Week of Action to push for passage of the Employee Free Choice Act.
At news conferences, worker roundtables, rallies and other gatherings across the country, workers and union and community leaders will connect with more than 130 members of Congress—thanking those who support the Employee Free Choice Act and demanding better from those who don’t.
In nearly 100 cities, workers will let their lawmakers know it’s time to end the unfair process that denies workers their freedom to join unions and bargain for better wages, benefits and working conditions.
In one of the first actions, more than 175 union members, state legislators and members of the West Virginia Council of Churches, the American Friends Service Committee and West Virginians for Affordable Health Care rallied in the rotunda of the West Virginia State Capitol on Thursday. They gathered to voice support for a resolution adopted by the state House of Delegates calling on Congress to pass the Employee Free Choice Act.
West Virginia AFL-CIO President Ken Perdue told the crowd the Employee Free Choice Act is about giving workers the opportunity to succeed:
It is an important time in the history of the labor movement. Once we pass the Employee Free Choice Act, millions more working men and women will be able to form unions free from the employer harassment or intimidation they currently face.The Employee Free Choice Act will give millions of working people an opportunity to have a better life, and that is why at every level of this labor movement we must wage a relentless fight until it becomes law.
Click here to find an Employee Free Choice Act event near you.
Last week, AFL-CIO President John Sweeney called on union members and allies to educate lawmakers and the public about the role the Employee Free Choice Act would play in reviving the nation’s middle class:
It’s our job in the coming months to connect the dots for our elected officials and the American public. We must explain how the Employee Free Choice Act means helping workers bargain for a better future for their families…how stronger families and stronger unions mean shared prosperity and how shared prosperity means a stronger America.
(If the Employee Free Choice Act had been in effect, it would have allowed workers like Nikkia Parish, Bill Lawhorn and many others to freely choose whether they wanted to join a union. Read and watch videos to find out what happened to them instead.)
The House Education and Labor Committee voted Feb. 14 to send the Employee Free Choice Act to the full House for a vote in the coming months. The committee vote was 26-19 in favor of advancing the legislation (H.R. 800), which was introduced Feb. 5 and has the bipartisan support of 233 co-sponsors.
The legislation would give workers greater freedom to make their own decisions about joining a union to bargain for a better life by:
- Establishing stronger penalties for violations of employee rights when workers seek to form a union and during first-contract negotiations,
- Providing mediation and arbitration for first-contract disputes, and
- Allowing employees to form unions by signing cards authorizing union representation.