“Management constantly threatened our livelihood and our retirement security if we were to form a union,” said Kevin Simoneau, a former Comcast field technician who experienced employer intimidation. “Giving us a choice about how to form a union would be a much fairer way to gain a real voice at work.”
“I was fired for supporting a union, even though I had an unblemished work record for 28 years at NCR,” said Warren Chesley, a former NCR customer engineer. “We need the Employee Free Choice Act to strengthen the penalties when employers violate our rights.”
“After we won our union, our managers were completely unreasonable about a wage increase. They just did nothing,” said Ron Ascollilo, an engineer who has worked at the Colonnade Hotel for 3 years. “We couldn’t get them to budge even though we were really united. The ability to have binding arbitration on our first contract would have really made a difference for us.”
Employee Free Choice would give workers, not their employer, a choice in how to form unions, either after a majority of workers sign a card in support of a union or through an election procedure. To learn about the act, visit: http://freechoiceact.org.
“Employee Free Choice would give working families the ability to restore their standard of living and help put our country back on the road to economic stability,” said Rev. Laurel Scott, a minister at the Centralville United Methodist Church and liaison for worker justice issues for the United Methodist Conference. “For people of faith, the dignity of workers, the dignity of work; and the concept of workers as partners in production are concepts that up until recently were disregarded by our leaders.”
“We aren’t going to take anything for granted,” said Robert Haynes, President of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO. “We will hold all of our representatives accountable to the needs of working families.”
“We are asking the Massachusetts delegation to do much more than just vote for it,” Haynes continued. “We want them to use their strength and power on committees in Congress to get the rest on board. We want them to be leaders in the fight!”
Also speaking at the briefing was noted MIT Professor of Industrial Relations, Thomas Kochan. “If enacted, Employee Free Choice would restore prosperity to American workers. Right now, only one in ten union campaigns result in workers gaining a first contract. This law addresses the major weak spots in our existing labor laws.”
“We won’t get the economy moving again without the Employee Free Choice Act,” Professor Kochan continued. “It will make sure that future bailouts or stimulus packages create the good jobs our communities need.”
“Employee Free Choice addresses one of the central economic problems of our time: wage disparity,” said Rich Rogers, Executive Secretary-Treasurer, Greater Boston Labor Council. “Allowing more workers access to collective bargaining will prime the pump of our economy.”
“Unions bring diverse communities together. They help people to better understand one another,” said Horace Small, Executive Director Union of Minority Neighborhoods. “The Employee Free Choice Act will help extend labor law protections to millions more workers – especially in communities of color.”
The event was held at the SEIU Local 615 union hall in Boston and was chaired by Alexandra Pineros-Shields, Director of Immigrant Programs at the Irish Immigration Center.
Pictures from the Employee Free Choice kick off event are posted at:
The groups attending the campaign meeting pledged to hold in-district meetings with members of Congress, visit newspaper editorial boards, gather thousands of pledge cards and rally workers across the state. Jobs with Justice will hold a special Workers’ Rights Board hearing on the bill in early February.