Earlier this week, as part of its ongoing "Fight for America's Future: It's Dollars and Sense" campaign, the AFT sent a message to members urging them to write to their U.S. senators and representatives to support swift passage of the Employee Free Choice Act.
On March 3, the AFT followed up that request for grass-roots activism with a pledge of additional financial support for the AFL-CIO's campaign to pass EFCA. American Rights at Work is spearheading the campaign to pass EFCA-which Congress is expected to take up soon-and the AFT funds will help support a media strategy to promote its passage.
This bill would level the playing field for workers by addressing problems in federal law that make it difficult for workers to organize a union. Forming a union allows workers to collectively bargain for healthcare, pensions, fair wages and better working conditions. Strong unions remain the best vehicle working people have to improve their lives and the lives of their families, and expanding the labor movement is the best way to strengthen the economy and our nation's middle class.
"This significant legislation has the potential to bring the benefits of union membership to many more American workers, and to help renew the strength of the labor movement," AFT president Randi Weingarten said in a letter to AFT executive council members about the union's EFCA pledge.
However, Weingarten added, "opponents of EFCA, including well-funded, powerful business interests, have made defeating the legislation a major priority." She highlighted the labor movement's "unparalleled ability to mobilize members on behalf of important causes," most recently during the presidential election and the push to pass the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. "EFCA is such a cause, and we will engage our members in the labor movement's campaign to pass EFCA by informing members, calling on them to contact elected officials and targeting crucial states."
While writing to Congress is important, it's not enough, Weingarten said. "We must be able to sustain a paid media campaign to promote the many benefits of EFCA, dispel the blatant falsehoods promoted by its opponents and counter their all-out war against it. The members and leaders of the AFT can be proud knowing that we are providing critical assistance in making the Employee Free Choice Act the law of the land. I know we all look forward to the passage of this important law."
March 4, 2009