The National Consumers League (NCL) today issued the following statement regarding the introduction in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate of the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA). This statement is attributable to Sally Greenberg, Executive Director of the National Consumers League:
“We applaud the introduction of the Employee Free Choice Act in Congress. Throughout its 109 year history, the League has been dedicated to promoting social and economic justice for consumers and workers. NCL strongly believes that consumer empowerment is closely aligned with the rights of workers to unionize,” said Greenberg. “In a time of economic turmoil with consumers faced with massive debt, high unemployment, and too many instances of corporate greed, it is more important than ever for workers and consumers to band together to help rebuild the middle class.”
In a December 2008 letter to Congress, NCL joined with six other consumer groups in a statement of support for EFCA. In that letter, the groups laid out three major consumer benefits of EFCA, including:
- Giving workers a fair and direct path to form unions through majority sign-up. EFCA would require an employer to recognize its employees’ union when a majority has signed union authorization cards. Under current law, management can refuse to recognize a union even when 100 percent of employees have signed authorization cards. After a majority of workers have signed cards, an employer can still call for a separate election. Under the current system, then, the employer gets to decide whether a separate election is necessary.
- Helping employees secure a contract with their employer in a reasonable period of time. Under current law, anti-union employers often drag workers through lengthy negotiations by delaying bargaining sessions, withholding relevant information, and putting forth bogus proposals. Even though these tactics are illegal, there are no effective deterrents to prevent “surface bargaining.” The Employee Free Choice Act will strengthen workers’ ability to achieve a first contract within a reasonable period of time.
- Toughening penalties against employers who violate their workers’ rights. Too many unscrupulous employers get away with breaking labor laws because the current penalties are too weak. The Employee Free Choice Act would increase penalties against employers who illegally fire or retaliate against pro-union workers.
To read more about NCL’s support for EFCA, click here.