Report from Richard of Unionreview.com
Today I was one of many thousands of workers who rallied on Capitol Hill in support of the Employee Free Choice Act. It was a cold day in DC, but we turned up the heat around this very important piece of legislation.
Leo Gerard, President of the United Steel Workers, was the master of ceremonies. He introduced the crowd to labor leaders in attendance, which included the AFL-CIO's John Sweeney and Andy Stern from SEIU/ Change to Win. Larry Cohen, President of the Communications Workers of Amercia, and one of the union movement's most vocal on the Employee Free Choice Act was there. Richard Trumka, the Secretary-Treasurer of the AFL-CIO and other labor leaders from all the unions were all there as well. Union members from IATSE, the Teamsters, AFSCME, SEIU, USW and every other union were all there cheering on the speakers
The event, however, was not about the labor leaders who braved the cold to be counted or heard.
Instead the day was about the working people who came out to provide first-hand accounts of their trials and tribulations when trying to organize a union at their workplace.
It was about the workers who are dealing with old and out dated labor laws that are broken.
The workers who came to the podium told the cheering crowd that they would not have been fired from the jobs they loved and did well if the Employee Free Choice Act was enacted. One worker, who worked as a case manager at substance abuse clinic in California, said that he was fired afer he lead an organizing campaign to a successful election. He told everyone that he loved his job, that he didn't go into that line of work to get rich, that his profession was his passion. That case worker from California had a similar story to a warehouse worker from Ohio, who was eventually hired back to his job, with back pay, after five years.
Many readers here know of stories like those who were heard today in DC.
Most of us are already in full support of the Employee Free Choice Act.
Most of us understand what it means to be union in the United States, and most of us are ready to make it easier for the next generation to organize if and when they want to.
If you are not one of the 1.5 million to sign on in support of the Employee Choice Act, don't waste any more time. Go to aflcio.org and find the petition and sign it.