Statement by AFL-CIO president John Sweeney on the introduction of the Empplyee Free Choice Act in the House of Representatives and Senate:
Today is a banner day for working Americans, a milestone on the road to rebuilding our nation's middle class – and it couldn't come at a more crucial time. We thank the House of Representatives and the Senate for introducing the Employee Free Choice Act, which will restore workers' freedom to bargain for fair wages, job security, better health care and secure pensions. Special thanks also go to Congressman Miller, Sen. Kennedy and Sen. Harkin for being the lead sponsors and champions for America's working families.
We are confident the Employee Free Choice Act is going to become the law of the land.
The introduction of this bill so early is a strong message that Congress is ready to move forward to help working families build an economy that works for everyone. It is common sense legislation that makes good on a simple promise: If a majority of employees in a workplace want a union, they should be able to have a union and bargain for a better life. That's why the Employee Free Choice Act has broad public support. Independent polling shows that 73 percent of the public supports it – and that support comes from every region, every demographic group and every political party. Even moderate and liberal Republicans support the Employee Free Choice Act, as do a wide array of progressive and public interest allies of working families.
Still, the debate will be tough. Wealthy corporate interests don't want to give up power and they are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to lie about what the bill does. But hard working Americans will not let their voices be silenced by wealthy CEOs and corporate lobbyists. Already, all across the country, working men and women are mobilizing at the grassroots, calling on Congress to pass the Employee Free Choice Act.
Passing the Employee Free Choice Act will allow workers to have a voice at work, lift their standard of living and build stronger communities as well as stronger families. The bill will allow workers to form a union if a majority indicates in writing that they want one, taking away the right of corporations to demand a ballot election they can readily manipulate. Workers can also choose a ballot election if they prefer –but it will be their choice, not their company's.
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