Letters to the Editor

Denver Dems adopt Employee Free Choice Act resolution

The Democratic Party of Denver adopted the following resolution by vote of its Executive Committee:

WHEREAS, the middle class in America is rapidly losing ground, and income for the median working age household fell by about $2,000 between 2000 and 2007, while the average family spent over $4,600 more for basic expenses; and

WHEREAS, the Employee Free Choice Act will strengthen our economy by helping to rebuild the middle class and create an economy that works for everyone; and

WHEREAS, the Employee Free Choice Act will give employees a fair opportunity to have a voice on the job—a union—to negotiate better healthcare benefits, wages, and working conditions; and

WHEREAS, unions paved the way to the middle class for millions of
Americans, and employees with unions earn higher wagers than workers without one, and are more likely to have health coverage and guaranteed defined-benefit pensions (78 percent of private-sector union workers have employer-provided health insurance, compared with only 49 percent of nonunion works, and 67 percent of union workers have defined-benefit pension plans, compared with 15 percent of nonunion workers); and

WHEREAS, unions benefit communities by strengthening living standards, stabilizing tax bases, promoting equal treatment, and enhancing civic participation; and

WHEREAS, states in which more people are union members are states with higher wages, better benefits, and better schools; and

WHEREAS, unions help raise workers’ pay and narrow the income page for minorities and women, by increasing median weekly earnings by 31 percent for union women workers, 36 percent for African American workers, 46 percent for Latino workers and 8 percent for Asian American workers; and

WHEREAS, while many employers and their unionized employees have created productive partnerships that have improved productivity, customer service, and jobs, far too many workers across the nation are routinely denied the freedom to form unions and bargain for a better life, with 25 percent of private-sector employers illegally firing at least one worker in organizing campaigns for union activity, and 91 percent forcing employees to attend one-on-one anti-union meetings with their supervisors; and

WHEREAS, companies often refuse to bargain fairly after works form a union by dragging out first-contract bargaining for up to two years in 44 percent of successful campaigns; and

WHEREAS, 77 percent of the public believes it is important to have strong laws protecting the freedom of workers to make their own decision about having a union, and 60 percent of workers would join a union if they had the chance; and

WHEREAS, the Employee Free Choice Act is supported by President Obama and Vice President Biden and received majority support in both houses of Congress in 2007 but was defeated by a minority of senators; and

WHEREAS, the Employee Free Choice Act will give employees — not employers, as under current law — the choice for whether to form a union by majority sign-up or secret ballot, provide for first contract mediation and arbitration, and establish meaningful penalties when employers violate workers’ rights;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Democratic Party of Denver supports the Employee Free Choice Act, which would give employees the choice to form a union by majority sign-up or secret ballot; provide for first contract mediation and arbitration; and
establish meaningful penalties for violations of a worker’s freedom to choose a union.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED AND PROCLAIMED that we urge Congress to pass the Employee Free Choice Act to help rebuild the middle class by protecting America’s employees’ freedom to choose for themselves whether or not to form a union.

Cindy Lowery, Chair
Owen Perkins, Secretary
The Democratic Party of Denver