Military veterans in Maine, Arkansas and around the country are calling for quick passage of the Employee Free Choice Act this week. In cooperation with national veterans groups, these veterans are holding meetings, writing letters and speaking about the need to restore the basic freedom to form a union and bargain for a better life.
Stephen Jackson, a Vietnam veteran from North Carolina who is both the commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 4312 and a member of Steelworkers (USW) Local 1283, took to the pages of the Roanoke Rapids Daily Herald in a great op-ed on the Employee Free Choice Act:
The men and women who put their lives on the line to protect our country deserve a chance to be a part of the American dream. They deserve a job that puts food on the table and a roof over the family’s heads. They deserve benefits so that they and their families can be healthy and thrive. They deserve the right to join any organization that will help improve their situation. They deserve to have the chance to be a part of the middle class and help rebuild our economy…
The Employee Free Choice Act will give veterans a better chance when they get back home to get better jobs with better benefits, and a better shot at the middle class. I support the Employee Free Choice Act. It’s my way of honoring those who served our country.
Small business owners are stepping up their support of the freedom to form unions, with the latest small business roundtable in Booneville, Ind., yesterday.
In key states around the nation, union members are taking part in “working lunches,” writing letters to members of Congress urging them to support the Employee Free Choice Act. In Sacramento, union members will hold a vigil, starting this afternoon and continuing overnight, to support the Employee Free Choice Act; they will use the time to write letters to members of Congress.
In Virginia, Working America is adding thousands of new members and has collected more than 1,500 letters in support of the Employee Free Choice Act. Rachel Coyler, who directs Working America’s canvassing in Northern Virginia, says she and her staff are finding Virginians concerned about the economy and interested in making it work for everyone:
We’re out every day talking to people about the bill and dispelling some of the misinformation and giving them the facts. We’re finding that once people understand the legislation, most people are behind employees’ right to choose how to form a union, and a lot of our members are willing to tell Sens. [Mark] Warner and [Jim] Webb so by writing a brief letter to them.
People believe that the middle class needs a fairer shot and now’s the time to give it to them.
Meanwhile, the AFL-CIO’s tireless Stewart Acuff is traveling in support of the grassroots campaign for Employee Free Choice, from Alaska to Arkansas to Massachusetts. It’s an exciting time and a real opportunity for new labor law that respects and protects workers and makes the economy work for everyone.