Latino News and Opinion

The Truth About Latinos And The Efca
Por Gabriela D. Lemus - Hispanic Link   
16:59 | 03/19/09
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   The Latino community should wholeheartedly get behind the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA).  Introduced March 10, the bill has a majority of support in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate, but business groups are spending heavily to make sure the Senate does not reach the 60 votes that it needs to survive a filibuster.

Lee la versión en español

Una prolongada campaña se vislumbra en el horizonte, tanto en las elecciones primarias como en las generales.

   EFCA is important because it levels the playing field for workers by ensuring a more democratic decision-making process that provides employees the room to be full partners with management.   At a minimum, democracy involves freedom of speech and freedom to organize collectively around issues.  In the case of workers, a minimum standard of democracy involves the ability of workers to discuss and debate amongst themselves free of harassment from either unions or corporate management as to whether they would like to join a union.  

   EFCA would reinvigorate the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) giving workers additional protections to bargain collectively and join a union.  Time and again, we have witnessed that the current system for workers to form unions so as to bargain over wages and benefits is broken.  As a result, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) would be better able to ensure that the processes regarding authorization forms are fair, thus preventing coercion from either side.

   In 2008, workers represented by unions earned a median weekly salary of $886. This compared to non-unionized workers, with median weekly earnings amounting to $691.  

  In particular, young men and women just entering the work world benefit from protections that collective bargaining provides.  

   Latinos are among the youngest population group in the United States. Their median age is 25.8 years – more than 10 years younger than that for the U.S. population as a whole. Also worth mention: they have more children and greater family stability. More than half are fully bilingual.  

   Needless to say, union membership would assist them not just in earning a livable wage. It could move many into jobs where they learn more skills, take on greater responsibilities gain added benefits

   Latino workers want to join unions.  Union membership, long in decline, actually increased in 2008, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics annual report. The unionized share of the U.S. workforce climbed to 12.4 percent last year from 12.1 percent in 2007, an increase of more than 420,000 members.

   While the gains were broadly shared across demographic lines and occupations, growth was strongest in the public sector, among Hispanics, and in Western states, driving the largest increase in more than a quarter of a century. More than 120,000 Hispanics became union members last year. Their membership rate rose nearly a full percent to 10.6 percent from 9.8 percent in 2007.

   EFCA offers workers added access to such benefits as health insurance and pensions. Management gains from the skill sets, contagious motivation and increased productivity that satisfied workers provide.  It follows that productive workers help companies grow profits and capital for further economic growth.

   As President Obama reminds us daily, the need to revitalize our communities is paramount. Urgent. Which communities will succeed in doing so?

   Where unions are stronger, not only are wages higher and health insurance more accessible; there are numerous other benefits.  In states with higher union density, it is more likely that poverty will be reduced. There will be more homeowners than renters and better schools because there is greater public education spending per pupil.  The three are inter-related.

  Together they bring an unintended benefit – a significant reduction in crime. Compare states where unions are strong with those where they’re weak. In the former, public dollars are more likely to go to schools and less likely to building jails.  

   By bolstering the middle class, educating our communities and ensuring they are healthy, we give people hope.  That’s the essence of the American Dream. The Employee Free Choice Act can help make it real again.

   [Dr. Gabriela D. Lemus is executive director of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA), with headquarters in Washington, D.C. Email: glemus@lclaa.org]

©2009

 

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6 Comentarios
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Escrito por Paul, marzo 20, 2009
You can get affordable Family and Individual Health insurance in Philly at www.ibx.com
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Free Choice means no choice as secret ballots are taken away
Escrito por misnomer, marzo 21, 2009

Does a ballot cast in private or a card signed in public better reveal a worker's true preference about whether to join a union? A private vote is the obvious answer, but organized labor has nonetheless made the misleadingly named Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA, H.R. 800) its highest legislative priority.

Recently, unions have switched the focus of their organizing operations from private balloting to publicly signed cards. These so-called card-check campaigns make it much easier for unions to organize workers, but most companies strongly resist the idea of denying their employees a vote. Unions now want the government to take away workers' right to vote and certify unions after only a card-check campaign. The Employee Free Choice Act would do this and more
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Tell the WHOLE truth about the mis-named "Employee Free Choice Act" ....
Escrito por misnomer, marzo 21, 2009
The Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) would disenfranchise 105 million American workers. For union organizing elections, the legislation would replace the secret ballot with a system of "card checks," where union organizers pressure workers to publicly sign a card stating they want to join a union. Workers would never have the option of voting against union membership, and millions of workers could be forced into a union without ever getting the chance to vote on the matter. Congress should preserve a worker’s right to vote in privacy on union membership.
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Why do unions want to take the right to a secret ballot away from workers?
Escrito por misnomer, marzo 21, 2009
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Latinos need to strive for success, not for unions...
Escrito por Frankie Cruz, marzo 25, 2009
With all due respect to Dr. Lemus; this idea is nothing but an attempt for President Obama to organize for votes in the same way that a dozen eggs are put in a carton for sale at the market. Anyone with a doctorate such as Dr Lemus doesn't need a union for successful career. With that being said, WHY SHOULD YOU?!?? Latinos shouldn't have to limit themselves to compromise their beliefs to a union just to make an honest living. As an IT professional who maintained a six figure salary without a college degree, I will tell you that it takes sacrifice, determination, and desire to get where you want to go. Don't depend on a union who wants to run you and don't depend on a president who hasn't a CLUE WHATSOEVER as to what's going on. Replace your HOPE & CHANGE with SACRIFICE & DETERMINATION and you will see. Whether it's a professional career or your own business endeavor, you have to want it THAT BAD to make it happen. If a Puerto Rican from the South Bronx with no college degree can have a 20 year professional career in Wall Street, you can do WHATEVER YOU WANT! This is the message that AL DIA and other Latino publications should be getting out to the Latin Community. The only card that a Latino should have in his hand is the card that reads CEO, not LOCAL!!!
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Fact Check on EFCA
Escrito por Andrea F, marzo 27, 2009
Dear misnomer, whether you are pro-union or anti-union, I think we can both agree that the public deserves facts. So allow me to do some fact checking for the sake of avoiding further misinformation of the public:

#1. EFCA amends the National Labor Relation Act. It DOES NOT REMOVE THE SECRET BALLOT election from the NLRA. It will still be up to the workers to decide which option they want, secret ballot or card check.

#2. The number assigned for the Employee Free Choice Act is H.R. 1409 in the House of Representatives and S. 560 in the Senate.

Regardless of what your political inclinations are, respectfully I ask that you please check the information you are passing off as facts.
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