When the factory where I worked for 23 years closed down, I ended up in the health care industry. Working in the factory I became a strong union supporter. I learned that workers need a collective voice on the job to stand up for our needs and rights.
I work for a large health care company now that has locations across the country. They know all about the Employee Free Choice Act and they want to make sure it does not become the law.
One day the company held “captive audience” meetings for the staff. They had a PowerPoint presentation all about how the union is not good for the workers. It had a message for the supervisors to treat us fair and listen to suggestions so the union would not seem necessary. It told the supervisors to talk up the benefits of working for this company. ‘We firmly believe that remaining union-free is one of the best ways for the company to remain competitive and successful,’ says the ‘union-free’ preamble.
A lot of my co-workers had never been in a union, and they did not know much about it. I brought in some information and petitions showing that with a voice at work, you earn higher wages and benefits and get better working conditions. A lot of my co-workers signed the petition for the Employee Free Choice Act. Now we are talking more about what it means.
Big companies know that we now have a president who supports workers’ rights and will sign the Employee Free Choice Act if Congress sends it to his desk.
It is up to us to spread the word far and wide that our country needs the Employee Free Choice Act to recover from the economic crisis. The best stimulus to the economy is putting money in workers’ pockets so we can spend on what we need and want. Better wages for workers will benefit the whole country, even the health care company I work for.
So, if your boss starts telling you that union dues is expensive and unions take your personal freedom away, don’t be fooled. Their credo is “FOE — Facts, Opinions, Examples” — from the company point of view, of course! Know your rights and know your facts. If we as workers across this country stand up together we can do anything.
— A health care worker in Connecticut