We need this law

1841.jpg

Workers in more than 100 cities met with members of Congress and community leaders to push for passage of the Employee Free Choice Act, HR 800. Here are two reports.

1841.jpgOAKLAND, Calif.— On Feb. 24, workers told area members of Congress and other officials why the Employee Free Choice Act is needed.

Rafael Cupertino, a worker at the Sheraton Hotel in Petaluma, told how management foiled the workers’ first union election by bringing staff from their other hotels to vote. Then, Cupertino said, the company intensified its anti-union campaign, including threatening to fire workers whose immigration documents were supposedly faulty.

“This is why I think we should have card check in all workplaces, so people can vote without fear of retaliation,” he said. “We do what our bosses ask, but the bosses aren’t doing what the law says they should do.”

“The right to bargain collectively is a fundamental right for which we will fight down the line,” newly elected Rep. Jerry McNerney told the standing-room-only crowd. Rep. Barbara Lee pledged to “work like crazy” for passage of the EFCA.

— Marilyn Bechtel

PITTSBURGH — Congress “needs to pass this law,” veteran mine worker Wallace Hood told a packed United Steelworkers hall Feb. 21. Hood now works at Consolidation Coal’s Bailey Mine, where the United Mine Workers is currently organizing. John Pezanna, a Comcast tech worker, outlined the five-and-a-half-year struggle to get the communications giant to recognize the Communications Workers of America.

Despite the company’s anti-union campaign, workers voted for the CWA, but they are still waiting for their first contract, he said.

The Osterling Sandblasting and Painting Co. fired Bob Boyle after 17 years of service for his efforts to organize into the Steelworkers union. “They hired an $800-an-hour lawyer to fight the union,” Boyle said, and when they fired me, “they talked to me like they were speaking to some stray dog.” Osterling has spent $489,000 to keep the USW out, Boyle said.

— Denise Winebrenner Edwards