Just 5 to go for House majority on EFCA

Rep. Jim Walsh (R-N.Y.) became the 13th Republican in the House to sign on as a co-sponsor of the Employee Free Choice Act. The Act would allow a path for workers to form a union at their workplace free of some of the worst practices of employer coercion. It would require employers to recognize a union after a majority of workers sign cards authorizing union representation. The EFCA now has 213 House co-sponsors, just five shy of an outright majority, Voice@Work reported. There are 42 co-sponsors in the Senate.

Stop killing of journalists

In an April 7 letter to U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John R. Bolton, The Newspaper Guild-CWA and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists called for support of efforts under way at the UN to urge “all governments of the world to honor their obligation to investigate” the growing crisis of the killing of journalists and media workers around the world.

President Linda Foley of TNG-CWA and Thomas R. Carpenter, general counsel and national director of legislative affairs for AFTRA, contacted Bolton as part of the International Federation of Journalists’ global campaign to focus attention on the deadly dangers facing media staff in Iraq and elsewhere in the world.

“Last year, some 150 journalists and media staff were killed,” Foley and Carpenter wrote.

Workin’ It

American Rights at Work, an advocacy group that promotes the rights of workers to form unions, launched a weekly one-hour radio show, “Workin’ It,” on Air America, the national progressive entertainment talk radio network.

The premiere features interviews with award-winning actor and activist Danny Glover and former Sen. John Edwards, a look at a powerful new effort by hotel workers trying to organize, and more.

Hosted by comedienne and author Jackie Guerra, “Workin’ It” will be a lively magazine show that places a broad variety of issues surrounding work and workers’ rights in an entertaining and thought-provoking platform, according to an announcement from American Rights at Work.

Locals support single-payer

Three locals from transportation, printing and postal unions have all endorsed HR 676, legislation to create a single-payer health care system in the U.S. The Ohio State Legislative Board of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen (BLET), at its quarterly meeting, acted favorably on a resolution submitted by its Toledo Division 4. BLET is associated with the Teamsters union.

In Royal Oak, Mich., postal workers in Branch 3126 of the National Association of Letter Carriers have also voted to endorse the proposed Conyers legislation. The branch represents more than 800 active and retired letter carriers in suburban Detroit.

In San Francisco, Local 4N, Web Pressmen & Prepress Workers Union, IBT/Graphic Communications Conference, unanimously voted to endorse HR 676. This is the second IBT Graphic Communications Conference local union to endorse the Conyers legislation.

HR 676 now has 68 congressional co-sponsors in addition to John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.). It would institute a single-payer health care system in the U.S. by expanding a greatly improved Medicare system to every resident.

HR 676 would cover every person in the U.S. for all necessary medical care including prescription drugs, hospital, surgical, outpatient services, primary and preventive care, emergency services, dental, mental health, home health, physical therapy, rehabilitation (including for substance abuse), vision care, chiropractic and long term care. HR 676 ends deductibles and co-payments. It would save billions annually by eliminating high overhead and profits of the private health insurance industry and HMOs.

This Week in Labor is compiled by Roberta Wood (rwood@pww.org).