In case you're not on his email list, here's an excerpt of a message former Senator and VP candidate John Edwards sent me (and millions of others) yesterday via his new One America Committee, announcing his leadership in pushing the Employee Free Choice Act to protect a worker's right to organize:
As I have been traveling across the country looking at ways to help families escape poverty and join the middle class, I have seen time and time again that joining a union is one of the best ways to lift people out of poverty. Americans in unions earn 27% more than Americans not in unions.
Today, Congress is introducing bipartisan legislation to restore a worker's right to organize. The Employee Free Choice Act would make it harder for employers to prevent workers from joining a union.
All too often, America's workers face harassment and intimidation when they try to join a union. They work hard for our country, but our laws aren't working for them. This important legislation would change our laws so that workers - not employers - can decide whether to start a union.
Please help America's workers by contacting your Senators and U.S. Representative and asking them to cosponsor this critical legislation immediately.
The main features of the legislation are 1) to toughen punishment for violating workers rights to organize a union, 2) require employers to recognize unions immediately upon a majority of workers signing cards asking for recognition, and 3) provide binding arbitration for first contracts when bargaining comes to an impass.
On the House side, 109 members have signed as co-sponsors to a similar bill. This is a good start, but where are the rest of the Democrats? As for Republicans, Sen. Arlen Specter is on board, but as Nathan Newman asks, what about the rest of them who claim to stand with labor?
Whatever the legislation's chances, this is a fundamental human rights issue. Lawmakers need to take a stand.