Corporate leaders are making a lot of unfounded claims that the Employee Free Choice Act would be bad for small businesses. But when you ask many small business owners and entrepreneurs across the country, you’ll hear a different story. They understand the Employee Free Choice Act will help create a stronger economy, with a better-trained workforce and a more economically stable customer base.

During a conference call today hosted by the worker advocacy group American Rights at Work, some of these small business owners spoke up to explain why they support the Employee Free Choice Act.

Ruth Schepp is a business owner in West Fargo, N.D., who employs six people and sees their membership in the Machinists (IAM) union as a way to cooperate with them to build a stronger firm.

Says Schepp:
I want my employees to be a part of this company as it grows. I want them to feel that they have a good job, a secure job. Good jobs support families; they support our community.

I want workers to be able to form a union and to have a choice in our economy. They deserve to have the fair chance to form a union without fear.

In Pennsylvania, Jim O’Malley, who owns and runs the Print and Copy Center of Pittsburgh, says he appreciates the training and apprenticeship programs through his employees’ union, which help ensure he has great employees who can contribute to the company’s overall functioning.

Says O’Malley:
My employees offer good, productive ideas, and we all work together. We have common goals we work towards.

I look at my employees as a partner. They understand that if the company is successful, they share in that.

Darren Horndasch, the owner of Wisconsin Vision, echoes that sentiment, saying that having a union—Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW)—makes his employees more career-minded and invested in providing excellent service. Horndasch says having a union doesn’t undermine his competitiveness; it gives him a competitive edge.

With our employees, we’ve had an opportunity to develop policies and procedures that benefit the company. It’s been an entirely positive experience.

Horndasch says that without a strong middle class, small businesses like his won’t be able to function—and giving people a good union job makes sure they can be part of a strong middle class.

Josh Bivens, an economist with the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), says the theory that union membership is bad for small businesses falls apart in the face of real evidence and empirical research. Economic analysts who have studied these issues in depth, Bivens says, agree with small business owners like Schepp, Horndasch and O’Malley. By allowing workers to bargain for better wages and benefits, unions can help build an economy that works for everyone in the long term.

Union membership directly addresses the single largest problem in our economy, which is the rise economic inequality. The research on this is crystal clear.

The last two recessions have been caused by over-leveraging and consumption that rose ahead of income. The Employee Free Choice Act would point us in the direction of economic expansion fueled by income finance, not debt finance.

When you look at both the economic research and the experiences of small business owners who have worked with unions, it’s clear that the scare tactics of anti-Employee Free Choice Act front groups don’t match up to reality.

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