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The Employee Free Choice Act, which is currently under consideration by Congress, is a bill that would make it easier for all workers to join unions by giving them the option to choose how to form a union, either by ballot or by getting a majority of employees to sign a union-authorization card.

If passed, the bill would be particularly good for African Americans, who join unions because union jobs provide better wages and health care benefits than non-union jobs. Black workers who are in unions earn 28 percent more than non-unionized Black workers and are approximately 16 percent more likely to have health insurance benefits than non-unionized Black workers.

In addition, unions have historically played a critical role in the upward mobility of African Americans and they still help to provide African Americans with better wages and healthcare benefits than they would get with non-union jobs.

The Employee Free Choice Act is supported by LCCR and other civil rights organizations, who point to a long history of collaboration between the labor movement and the civil rights movement. Today is the anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who was killed while in Memphis, Tenn., to organize sanitation workers in 1968.

‘Dr. King was assassinated helping to lead a struggle of sanitation workers to win the freedom to form a union and bargain collectively with their employer. The struggle of those workers continues today as Congress works to pass the Employee Free Choice Act to improve the lives of working men and women regardless of race, color or creed,’ said Benjamin Jealous, president and CEO of the NAACP.