WASHINGTON, DC- Following a Health, Education, Labor and Pensions hearing today on Rebuilding Economic Security: Empowering Workers to Restore the Middle Class, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) released the following statement:
“In my judgment, it is appropriate at this hearing to discuss the Employee Free Choice Act, but also the trauma that the American family is living through in this recession. We need to talk about helping to provide economic security for families who don’t have it. One of the best ways to ensure economic security for workers and their families is for that worker to be a member of a union.
“The other side has done a good job of making their arguments. I give them credit for their political skill -- even if their arguments are not always accurate.
“What you don’t hear is that the Employee Free Choice Act actually gives workers two different ways to choose whether to form a union: through an election process or through majority sign up. The choice is up to the workers.
“I’m a Pennsylvanian. We have had a lot of tough years seeing people trampled by corporate power. These troubles marred the last century, but we still have problems today. I have seen anti-union intimidation when firms were brought in to discourage organizing by health care workers. This bill will help preserve the rights of workers.
“Contrary to the rhetoric from the other side, the Employee Free Choice Act does not abolish the secret ballot election process. A secret ballot would still be available. If workers prefer to use majority sign up, they could do that as well.
“We know from our history that if people collectively bargain and organize for wages and benefits, it is not only good for the workers and their families, but it is also good for the U.S. economy. One of the reasons why we have a strong middle class is because we have had unions that have helped build that middle class.
“Allowing people to organize and bargain for their rights and benefits is not just a labor issue; it is an issue of economic justice.
“St. Augustine said, ‘Without justice, what are kingdoms but great bands of robbers?’
“This bill can help in the pursuit of economic justice. If we don’t pursue justice, we will be nothing but a band of robbers.”