Weather Forecast


Employee Free Choice Act puts workers first

The Wagner Act of 1935 (NLRA) served workers well until industrialists lobbied legislators to pass the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947 that eroded the democratic rights of labor and deposited the control in the hands of capital. The proposed Employee Free Choice Act will do exactly what it says, and place the democratic process back in the hands of its rightful owner, the worker. Under the current rules of the National Labor Relation Act, after 30 percent of the workers have signed union authorization cards, the employer has the option to accept the union as the employees bargaining representative (which they very rarely do) or challenge the employees wishes by demanding an election (which they most often do).

In a vast majority of cases, the only reason the employers force an election is not in the democratic interests of the employees but only to stop the employees' unionization efforts through reprisal and intimidation. Even if the workers win the election, statistics show that only 52 percent will have a contract after a year.

Employers against the EFCA claim that the economy will not sustain the higher wages and benefits that it would garner. But as history reveals, during the Great Depression the NLRA was passed amidst an unemployment rate of 20 percent, and helped catapult us out of the Depression by putting more money back in the economy through higher wages. Wall Street received their bailout; it's our turn, and the difference is we will earn ours.

Mel Thoresen

Deer River