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    Handout on the Employee Free Choice Act

    Why now?

    For some people, this is still a time of tax breaks and seven-figure bonuses.  But regular working people are just scraping by.  Today, only 38% of us say our families are getting ahead financially.  Less than a quarter of us believe our children's generation will be better off.

    The best opportunity working people have to get ahead economically, to rebuild this economy, is by uniting with co-workers to bargain with our employers for better wages, benefits and working conditions.

    Workers who belong to unions earn 30% more than nonunion workers.  They are 63% more likely to have employer-provided health coverage and almost five times more likely to have pensions.

    The union wage advantage is even greater for women and people of color.  This "union difference" is a big reason why more than half of America's working people -- 60 million -- say they would join a union right now if they could.

    But every day, corporations deny working people the chance to gain a better life.

    The System for Forming Unions is Broken

    Employers routinely intimidate, harass, coerce and even fire workers who try to form unions and bargain for our economic well-being -- and today's laws are powerless to stop them.  Employees are on an uneven playing field from the first moment we egin exploring whether to form a union, and the will of the majority often is crushed by brutal management tactics.  Not only do our labor laws fail to protect workers -- they've een twisted into a tool to destroy our freedom to bargain for better wages and benefits.

    • The employer alone decides what process workers may use to choose to have a union.
    • Just filing a petition for a union election can trigger a bitter and divisive campaign by management to stop the union.  Employees are ostracized and threatened with loss of pay and benefits -- and even our jobs.
    • Management can bombard employees with anti-union messages anywhere, anytime in the workplace while severely restricting workers from speaking out for the union.
    • Free choice should not be restricted to the heroic few who are able to withstand tremendous pressure, stress and the risk of losing our livelihoods.  

    Employers Have All the Power and Poison the System

    Most employers force workers who want a union to endure a management-dominated National Labor Relations Board election process that gives the boss all the power and all the choices.

    The NLRB process may be called an "election" -- but it's nothing like any democratic election held in any other part of our society.  The employer controls the voters' paychecks and livelihoods, has unlimited access to voters, can restrict pro-union speech and has the freedom to intimidate and coerce voters.  Among private-sector employers whose workers try to form unions:


    FACT  92% force employees to attend mandatory anti-union meetings in which union supporters cannot speak out -- and can be fired if they try. 
    FACT  78% force workers to attend one-on-one anti-union meetings with the managers who directly supervise them.
    FACT  25% illegally fire at least one worker for union activity.
    FACT  Even when workers succeed in forming their union, in 1/3 of the cases their employers don't agree to a contract.

    Management's attacks and the imbalance of power poison the current system and make it impossible for workers to have a free choice about forming a union to lift their living standards.

    • Employees do not have a free choice after being browbeaten by supervisors to oppose the union or being told we may lose our jobs and livelihoods if we vote for the union.
    • Firings, harassment, intimidation and coercion follow workers into the voting station.
    • The effects of these abuses cannot be undone by a "secret ballot election."
    What is the Employee Free Choice Act?

    It does three things to level the playing field for employees and employers:

    • Strengthens penalties for companies that break the law when workers try to form a union;
    • Brings in a neutral third party to mediate and then require agreement when a company and a newly certified union cannot reach a contract after three months;
    • Enables workers to form unions when a majoirty of the employees sign union authorization cards, validated by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

    What's wrong with the current law?

    The National Labor Relations Act states:  "Employees shall have the right to self organization, to form, join, or assist labor organizations ...."  It was designed to protect employee choice on whether to form unions, but it has been turned upside down.

    The current system for voting on whether to form a union is not like a democratically held election.  Employers have turned the NLRB election process into management-controlled elections -- the employer has all the power.  The employer controls the information the workers receive at the workplace and routinely poisons the process by intimidating, harassing, coercing and even firing people who try to organize unions.  Additionally, the law's penalties are so insignificant that many companies treat the penalties as just another cost of doing business.  By the time employees are able to vote in an NLRB election if they even get to that point, a free and fair choice is not an option.  

    What is majority sign-up, and how does it work?

    When a majority of employees votes to form a union by signing authorization cards, and those cards are validated by the federal government, the employer will be legally required to recognize and bargain with the workers' union.

    Majority sign-up is NOT a new approach.  For years, some responsible employers, such as Cingular Wireless, have agreed to recongize a union when employees vote through majority sign-up.  They recognize this as a repsonsible way to treat workers that results in less conflict between employers and employees.  Public workers in 13 states have majority sign-up laws to help them form unions. 

    Does the Employee Free Choice Act take away the so-called secret ballet election?

    NO.  If one-third of the workers want to have an NLRB election at their workplace, they can simply ask the federal government to hold an election.  The Employee Free Choice Act simply gives them the additional option of forming a union by majority sign-up if they wish.

    "Elections" may sound like the most democratic approach, but the NLRB election process is nothing like a real election.  This is because the employer has all the power before and during the election.  The employer controls the voters' paychecks and livelihood, has unlimited access during the workday to campaign against the union, can restrict pro-union speech by its own employees, and can intimidate and coerce the employee voters.

    Once a majority of workers indicate they want a union by signing cards, the employer should not be able to drag the election process out for months as is done under the current system.  The will of the majority should be recognized.

    Does the Employee Free Choice Act silence employers or equire they remain neutral about the union?

    NO.  Employer are free to express their opinion about the union as long as they do not threaten or intimidate workers.

    Will employees be pressured into signing union authorization cards?

    NO.  In fact, academic studies show that workers who organize under majority sign-up feel less pressure from co-workers to support the union than workers who organize under the NLRB election process.  Workers who vote by majority sign-up also report far less pressure or coercion from management to oppose the union than workers who go through NLRB elections.

    In addition, it is illegal for anyone to coerce employees to sign a union authorization card.  Any person breaking the law will be subject to penalties under the Employee Free Choice Act.

    Isn't this law really about unions wanting to increase their membership?

    This law is about restoring tow orking people the freedom to improve their lives through unions.  Every worker deserves the freedom to bargain for a better life.  And workers can't do that one by one.  Only through collective bargaining can workers level the playing field.

    More than half of people who don't have a union say they would join one tomorrow if given the chance.  If the law is changed to allow more workers to make our own decision, more of America's workers will be able to work together to ensure fair treatment on the job and improve our standard of living.

    The real issue is this:  Do we want to accept the status quot or change it so working men and women have the freedom to pursue a better life?

    For more information click here or call (202) 639-6200 to:

    • Sign up as a working family activist to help pass the Employee Free Choice Act.
    • Send a message urging your members of Congress to support the Employee Free Choice Act.
    • Spread the word -- download a flyer or send a message to let friends, neighbors, family, colleagues and allies know how important the Employee Free Choice Act is to help workers improve our lives and to rebuild this economy.
    • Get the facts, find out about events and keep up ont he latest news from the campaign to restore workers' freedom to form unions and bargain. 

    Below you will find some useful articles related to the Employee Free Choice Act.  Click here for a copy of S 560 introduced March 10, 2009.



    Arch EFCA

    *SF Pledges to Use Purchasing Power to Produce Sweatshop Reform* Lisa Leff Sweatshop-Free San Francisco 2005-09-13
    San Francisco supervisors unanimously approved a new law Tuesday that requires city contractors to guarantee in writing that the uniforms, computers and other goods they supply were not made by workers exploited in so-called "sweatshops."

    2009 Cuba Delegation Report NLG L&EC Cuba 2009-02-21
    2009 Cuba report

    2018 Cuba Brochure
    2018 Brochure for Labor and Employment Committee trip to Cuba

    Advocate Honored on King Day - Her Cause: Helping Immigrants Feel Safe at Work Meg Heckman Honoree on MLK Day 2006-01-16
    Judy Elliott begins her lessons with words such as safe, dangerous, caution and watch out, simple but crucial terms for the immigrants she helps prepare for jobs in their new country.

    Assembly Bill 371 2007-02-14 California AB 371  
    California Assembly Bill introduced by Assembly Member Huffman on financing certain health facilities to require effective injury prevention programs.

    Attorney, Activist Harriet McBryde Johnson Dead at age 50 Prentiss Findlay NLG member dies at age 50 2008-06-04
    Harriet McBryde Johnson, a well-known Charleston disability and civil rights attorney, died Wednesday.

    California's Immigrant Workers Speak Up About Health And Safety In The Workplace  UCLA LOSH (Labor Occupational Safety & Health Program 2002-12-01
    California's Immigrant Workers Speak Up About Health and Safety in the Workplace

    Communities Without Borders David Bacon The Migrant Experience 2006-11-01
    Press release on David Bacon's new book on the reality of the migrant experience

    Community Dialogue on Immigration Reform - Oakland, California David Bacon Immigration Reform 2009-07-15
    On Saturday, July 16th, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas visited Oakland's First Congregational Church to hold a dialogue with members of the community, labor organizations and faith groups about her immigration reform proposal - HR 2092, also known as the 'Save America Comprehensive Immigration Act of 2005.

    Congress Must Face Reality David Bacon Immigration Legislation, Congress, Senate, House of Representatives, 2006-04-06
    Senators Will pat themselves on the back this week, for agreeing to their most pro-corporate, anti-immigrant bill in decades. Thens of thousands of people may be forced to leave the US as a result. Millions more would have to become braceros - guest workers on temporary visas - just to continue to labor in the jobs they've had for years.

    Core Talking Points for the Employee Free Choice Act AFL-CIO STRATEGY - Core talking points for the Employee Free Choice Act 2009-07-28
    Core talking points for the Employee Free Choice Act.

    DA: Man Shortchanges Day Laborers Out Of Wages NBC 11 Contractor Accused of Treating Day Laborers Unfairly 2007-03-15
    Prosecutors in San Francisco have filed felony charges against a contractor they said allegedly cheated day laborers out of wages.

    DHS Press Release Dept of Homeland Security DHS No-Match Rule 2009-07-08
    DHS press release issued July 8, 2009, announced rescinding of No-Match Rule: "DHS will be proposing a new regulation rescinding the 2007 No-Match Rule, which was blocked by court order shortly after issuance and has never taken effect. That rule established procedures that employers could follow if they receive SSA No-Match letters or notices from DHS that call into question work eligibility information provided by employees. These notices most often inform an employer many months or even a year later that an employee's name and Social Security Number provided for a W-2 earnings report do not match SSA records-often due to typographical errors or unreported name changes. E-Verify addresses data inaccuracies that can result in No-Match letters in a more timely manner and provides a more robust tool for identifying unauthorized individuals and combating illegal employment." The AFL-CIO expects that the government will seek a stay of the litigation while it rescinds the rule.

    Divided We Fall David Bacon Colorlines 2006-03-03
    If Congress' current proposals for immigration reform pass this year or next, will they help the immigrant workers now doing reconstruction on the Gulf Coast? What about the residents hoping to return home - what might these proposals mean for racial divisions already fanned by New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and syndicated newspaper columnist Ruben Navarette in the wake of the flood?

    Employee Free Choice Act 2009-03-10 Federal S 560 Employee Free Choice Act Senators Reid, Kennedy, et al
    The Employee Free Choice Act is bipartisan legislation which amends certain provisions of the National Labor Relations Act. It passed the U.S. House of Representatives 241 - 185 on March 1, 2007, and gained majority support in the U.S. Senate on June 26, 2007, but was blocked by a Republican filibuster. The Act 1) removes current barriers that prevent workers from forming unions to bargain collectively allowing workers to designate a union as the bargaining when a majority of employees have signed authorizations for such; 2) guarantees workers a contract when they form a new union by requiring mediation and binding arbitration if the parties are unable to bargain a first contract; and 3) strengthens penalties against companies which break the law during organizing campaigns and first contract negotiations.

    Employee Free Choice Act: Questions and Answers AFL-CIO HANDOUT - Employee Free Choice Act - Questions and Answers 2009-01-01
    Why we need the Employee Free Choice Act; What's wrong with the current law; What does the Employee Free Choice Act do; What is majority sign-up and how does it work; Does the Employee Free Choice Act take away so-called secret-ballot elections; Does the Employee Free Choice Act silence companies or require them to remain neutral; Will employees be pressured into signing union-authorization cards; Isn't this laaw really about unions wanting to increase their membership; Who supports the Employee Free Choice Act; Who opposes the Employee Free Choice Act; Does the Employee Free Choice Act take away the right of individual states to prohibit union membership as a condition of employment in their state; Does the Employee Free Choice Act have a small business exception?

    Employer Interference by the Numbers (Private-sector employers) AFL-CIO HANDOUT - Statistics related to employer interference in union campaigns 2009-07-28
    Statistics related to employer interference in union campaigns. (1 page)

    Equality, Or Not David Bacon TrouthOut 2006-03-03
    Equality has become an unmentionable word in Congress. It doesn't come even once in the 300 page omnibus immigration bill introduced last week by Senator Arlen Specter, nor in any of the others Congress is considering. They all deny equality to millions of people. In the testimony before the Senate Judeiciary Committee, which Specter charis, no one even dares to advocate it. Is this what we stand for?

    Exposing the Opposition: The Facts on Critics of the Employee Free Choice Act American Rights at Work HANDOUT - Exposing the Opposition to Employee Free Choice Act 2009-01-01
    While pretending to protect the well-being of U.S. workers, anti-union corporate special interests are tripping over each other and sparing no expense to bully lawmakers, misinform the public, and oppose free choice for workers. Here are a few facts on who's behind the attack on the Employee Free Choice Act. For more details on the opposition, visit www.AntiUnionNetwork.org

    Foreign Born Workers Katherine Loh & Scott Richardson Trends In Fatal Occupational Injuries 2004-06-01
    Monthly Labor Review

    Free and Fair? How Labor Law Fails U.S. Democratic Election Standards Lafer, Gordon How labor law fails U.S. democratic election standards 2009-01-01 http://araw.org/docUploads/LaferFactSheetFINAL%2E.pdf
    How labor law fails U.S. democratic election standards. American Rights at Work.

    From Orchards to the Internet Catherine Ruckelshaus and Bruce Goldstein Confronting Contingent Work Abuse 2002-03-08
    Subcontracted Worker Initiative

    Getting It Right David Bacon An upswing in benefits to Hotel Workers? 2006-10-02
    Will a new balance of power in hotels make housekeepers and cooks the inheritors of the San Francisco's waterfront labor tradition, and lead to the kind of rise in the standard of living that longshoremen experienced decades ago?

    Homeland Security's Latest Weapon Against Illegal Immigration Could Cost Legal Workers Their Jobs Tori Marlan Homeland Security uses Immigration Against Illegal Immigrants 2008-01-10
    There are almost 18 million discrepancies in the social security database, in about 4 percent of all entries, according to a 2006 report by the SSA's own inspectors. An estimated 71 percent of these (nearly 13 million) pertain to the records of U.S. born citizens. This article discusses the problems that workers face because of no-match letters and also the ramifications of the recently-proposed Safe-Harbor Procedures for Employers. Anticipating abuse from unscrupulous employers and confusion among good ones, local organizers and activists (UE, Interfaith Worker Justice, Chicago Workers; Collaborative, and other like-minded organiztions) fromed the Chicago Coalition Against No Match in August. Around this time, UE also launched a no-match hotline to assist workers whose bosses were using the letters as an excuse to threaten or fire them

    Hotline to Help Day Laborers Turn In Contractors Who Cheat Ken McLaughlin Police Say Immigrants Deserve Protection 2006-03-06
    The city of Santa Cruz, which often takes controversial approaches to social issues, has now established what is believed to be the nation's first hotline for day laborers - most of whom are undocumented - to report unscrupulous employers. The creation of the hotline, announced Monday, swiftly drew complaints from activists who said government should not offer such protections to illegal immigrants. "The number of illegal immigrants is exploding, and this will only encourage more to come," said Yeh Ling-Ling, executive director of the Oakland-based Diversity Alliance for a Sustainable America. But police officials, citing reports that employers regularly abuse day laborers, said everyone deserves the protection of the law.

    Housecleaner Sues for Back Wages Jay Wein Back Wages 2005-06-08
    A Menlo Park woman, with support from La Raza Centro Legal, has filed suit against a former employer, arguing she was abused on the job repeatedly over the last ten years. The employer was allegedly in violation of several workplace safety and compensation regulations.

    How U.S. Corporations Won the Debate Over Immigration David Bacon The Debate Over Immigration 2004-11-01
    The story documents the way in which over 30 of the largest trade and manufacturing associations in the United States, grouped together in the Essential Worker Immigration Coalition, have promoted the vast expansion of guest worker programs. Today, in Congress, at least two major bills, from both Republicans and Democrats, embody proposals that originate with EWIC

    ILO Complaint and Submission Saskatchewan Federation of Labour ILO Complaint 2009-09-08 ILO
    ILO Complaint and Follow-Up Submission of Sep 8, 2009 concerning the Saskatchewan Public Service Essential Services Act of 2008 and the Trade Union Act Amendment Act of 2008 (Bill 5 and Bill 6 respectively) passed by the Legislature of Saskatchewan Canada, on behalf of the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour, its Affiliates and (list of unions). Issues (complaints re the legislation) include: 1) violation of freedom of association; 2) elimination of card certification weakened union ability to protect and exercise freedom of association; 3) thousands of workers have lost right to strike and therefore are unable to achieve collective agreements and to exercise freedom of association rights; 4) the Labour Relations Board is not viewed as impartial by Saskatchewan unions; and 5) the government recently passed an anti-trespassing law that infringes upon freedom of association rights to picket, demonstrate and strike.

    Immigrant Workers Empowerment and Community Building Chris Benner, Tony LoPresti, Martha Matsuoka, Manuel Pastor, Rachel Rosner Immigrant Workers 2009-04-23
    A review of issues and strategies for increasing workforce and economic opportunity for immigrant workers. April 2005 Center for Justice, Tolerance, & Community

    Introduction to NAFFE Strategy Series NAFFE Fair Employment 2009-07-08
    North American Alliance for Fair Employment

    Invisible to Most, Immigrant Women Line Up for Day Labor Nina Bernstein Stories form Women Immigrant Workers 2005-08-15
    Immigrant women line up for day labor on streets of New York City, despite risks; in factories in Manhattan, or to do housecleaning in Williamsburg section of Brookly; experts say such female shape-ups may be only significant ones of their kind in nation--places where women put their personal safety in jeopardy for few hours of work; almost unobserved, these female shape-ups have doubled in size in recent years; their growth reflects larger overlooked reality: women make up 44 percent of nation's low-wage immigrant work force; global patterns indicate that women are easily half the immigrant workers flowing to large metropolitan areas like New York; they depend on one another and their own instincts for safety; women describe their desperation for jobs, and some of their experiences; photos

    Judge Rules U.S. Government Not Liable for Migrant Deaths Michael Kiefer Judge Rules Against Immigrant Advocates 2005-07-14
    U.S. District Judge John M. Roll dismissed a wrongful death lawsuit filed against the U.S. government for the dehydration deaths of 11 undocumented immigrants. The lawsuits blamed the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge for their deaths because they denied and application to install "water stations" for immigrants crossing the border. The judge wrote the government 'owed no duty to affirmatively assist trespassers illegally crossing Cabeza Prieta in avoiding the obvious dangers of a hostile desert.'

    Kennedy Slams Fatality Rates for Immigrant Workers  Occupational Hazards 2002-02-28
    Article on protecting the occupational safety and health of immigrant workers.

    Labor Contractors Suspected Farm Labor Organizer Murdered in Mexico Dan La Botz Labor Organizer Killed 2007-04-14
    Santiago Rafael Cruz, an organizer for the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) based in Toledo, Ohio, was found murdered in the union's office in Monterrey, Mexico on the morning of April 9. He had been bound hand and foot and beaten to death. Circumstances suggest labor contractors may have had him killed. Cruz, 29, had worked for FLOC in the United States for four years organizing immigrant agricultural workers. For less than a month working for the FLOC in the Monterrey office that was set up in 2005 to help process H2A visa workers whose employers were under FLOC contracts.

    Laguna Beach is Sued Over Day Laborer Center Jennifer Delson Laguna Beach sued for providing a Workers' Center for Undocumented Workers 2006-10-04
    Conservative advocacy group files suit alleging city violates federal law by funding facility that helps undocumented workers find jobs.

    Local Contractor Accused of Defrauding Day Laborers Adam Martin Contractor Accused of Treating Day Laborers Unfairly 2007-03-16
    District Attorney Kamala Harris announced charges Thursday against a man who allegedly hired day laborers and then withheld their pay.

    Low Pay, High Risk: State Models For Advancing Immigrant Workers' Rights  NELP (National Employment Law Project 2003-11-01
    It is estimated that between 28 and 30 million immigrants live in the United States. This is slightly more than 10.4% of the U.S. population.1 Ninety percent of these are of working age.2 Immigrants, both documented and undocumented, work long hours at the lowest-paid and most dangerous jobs in the U.S. economy. One in four low-wage workers in the United States is an immigrant.

    Lozano v. City of Hazelton 3:06cv1586 2006-10-31 M.D. Pa SUBJECT: Immigration Law - Municipal Ordinances Targets Undocumented Immigrants
    A district court granted a motion for a TRO enjoining the enforcement of two municipal ordinances. One ordinance required residents to obtain "occupancy permits" based on "proper identification showing proof of legal citizenship and/or residency;" the second was aimed at preventing businesses from employing or harboring undocumented workers. The court held that the ordinances threatened irreparable injuries that outweighed the city's enforcement interest, and determined that granting preliminary relief would best serve the public interest. The court further found that serious constitutional claims were raised and that there was a reasonable probability of success on the merits.

    Madeira v. Affordable Housing Foundation 04-3606-cv, 04-3700-cv 2006-11-14 UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS Affordable housing for Undocumented people
    The Second Circuit ruled that the New York Scaffold Law was not preempted by the Immigration Reform and Control Act and, therefore, a jury could award damages to an undocumented laborer for his loss of wages and future earnings. The court opinioned that nothing in IRCA "demands that employers, site owners, or general contractors be absolved from New York-imposed duties of workplace care whenever undocumented aliens provide labor on construction sites."

    Massachusetts Supreme Court backs Transit in lawsuit on bias, worker seniority - Union considered hiring a violation John R. Ellement, Boston Globe Public Policy Concerns Trump Union Agreement, Court Rules 2009-06-05
    Public Policy Concerns Trump Union Agreement, Court Rules A Massachusetts transit agency is not required to abide by union contracts in cases where it seeks to end discrimination, the state's highest court has ruled. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court found Thursday that broader public policy concerns should supersede the union's collective bargaining agreement in this case. The matter stemmed from a complaint filed by an applicant who was denied a job as a rail repairman after failing a hearing test in which in he was not allowed to use his hearing aids. John R. Ellement, Boston Globe 06/05/2009

    Measures To Protect Latino Workers In Illinois Governor Blagojevich Press Release 2005-11-07
    Building on his commitment to create safer working environments in Illinois, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced several measures that will help protect the state’s Latino workers from workplace injuries and fatalities. According to national and state research, Latino workers are more likely than other workers to be killed or injured on the job, and foreign-born Latino workers account for two-thirds of all workplace Latino deaths.

    NDLON v. Mamaroneck Case No. 06 Civ. 3243 (CM) (MDF) 2006-11-20 USDCt SDNY Judge Rules in Favor of Hispanic Laborers
    US District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge ruled in favor of Hispanic laborers in John Does and NDLON v. village of Mamaroneck. A suburban village in NY was found to have discriminated against Hispanic day laborers when they shut down a hiring site and increased police security in areas where they sought work. The village contended that the quality of life for residents, not race, was the reason for heightened police presence. This federal court ruling marks the second victory for day laborers this year.

    Neither Free Nor Fair: The Subversion of Democracy Under National Labor Relations Board Elections Lafer, Gordon Subversion of democracy under NLRB elections 2007-07-01 http://www.americanrightsatwork.org/docUploads/NeitherFreeNorFair.pdf
    The subversion of democracy under National Labor Relations Board elections. America Rights at Work. From its inception in 1935, the National Labor Rleations Act (NLRA) held out the promise that Americans may enjoy democratic rights in the workplace similar to those we count on as citizens. When the bill was passed, the U.S. Senate explained that its purpose was to guarantee rights to "a worker int he field of industry" similar to those provided to "a citizen in the field of government." Unfortunately, however, in the 70 years since the law was estalbished, Americans' democratice right to represent themselves through a union has increasingly become a right that exists on paper only, as aggressive employers and ineffective laws have effectively denied most employees the ability to exercise this right in practice. Over the years, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has interpreted the law in ways that allow employers to deny free speech int he workplace, pervert the political process, and intimidate workers whoa re voting ont he question of unionization. Many forms of employer initimidation that are banned in elections to public office are permitted in NLRB elections. Furthermore, sinc ethe penalties for violating labor law are so minimal, it has become commonplace for employers to break the law as part of their efforts to prevent employees from forming unions; thousands of Americans every eyar are either fired, suspended, or otherwise financially punished for backing the "wrong side" in union elections. In new research, University of Oregon professor Gordon Lafer, Ph.D., lays bare the realities of how workers' rights to democratic process and freedom of association have been effectively eliminated under the NLRB system, exposing the myriad ways in which workers are denied the most basic tenets of democracy. This research illustrates just how far NLRB elections fall short of th estandards that we rely on in elections to Congress and other public offices. Finally, this report addresses head-on the claim that the NLRB election process guarantees workers a truly secret ballot -- the central claim of anti-union advocates who seek to keep the current NLRB system in place. Lafer's work shows instead that NLRB elections fail to safeguard workers' right to keep their opinions private; and that, on the contrary, the NLRB system results in workers being forced to reveal their political preferences long before they step into the voting booth -- thus turning the "secret ballot" into a mockery of democratic process.

    Neutrality Agreements and Card Check Recognition: Prospects for Changing Labor Relations Paradigms Brudney, James Neutrality Agreements and Card Check Recognition 2007-02-20 http://www.acslaw.org/files/Brudney-Neutrality%20Agreements-Feb%202007-Advance%20Vol%201.pdf
    Neutrality Agreements and Card Check Recognition: Prospects for Changing Labor Relations Paradigms

    New Bracero Program is Not the Answer United Farm Workers Senate Votes on Bracero Program Without Listening to Immigrants 2005-07-16
    Today, July 26, the U.S. senate Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing on proposals for comprehensive immigration reform. The voices of hardworking immigrants living in the shadows of our society need to be heard.

    New York Immigration Coalition Make The Road By Walking Ken McLaughlin Police Say Immigrants Deserve Protection 2006-03-06
    Study Documents Dangers of Construction Work in New York; Finds Hazards and Serious Injuries Especially Afflict Immigrant Workers and Workers at Elevated Heights.

    NJ Vote by Mail Lagomarsino, Andy Vote by Mail 2009-06-09
    New Jersey recently enacted a permanent vote by mail statute, which is permitted by four other states. Registered voters will be given the option to select to vote by mail for one calendar year or for all future general elections. Once such a request is made, a county board of elections would be required to send a ballot to the voter without the need for further requests.

    NLG Convention handouts various Employee Free Choice Act 2009-10-18
    various handouts on EFCA

    No More Stacked Deck: Evaluating he Case Against Card-Check Union Recognition Eaton, Adrienne E, and Kriesky, Jill Card-check union recognition 2009-01-01 Perspectives on Work
    Evaluating the case against card-cehck union recognition.

    Occupational Safety & Health and the Employee Free Choice Act Dooley, Peter Employee Free Choice Act & Occupational Safety and Health 2009-07-28
    The Employee Free Choice Act will help improve safety and health conditions on the job.

    On The Corner Abel Valenzuela Jr., Nik Theodore, Edwin MelĂ©ndez, Ana Luz Gonzalez Day Labor in the United States 2006-01-01
    UCLA Center for the Study of Urban Poverty - January 2006 - The first nationwide study on day laborers found that such workers are a nationwide phenomenon.There are over 117600 people gathering at more than 500 hiring sites to look for work on a typical day.

    One-Quarter Of Day Laborers Hurt On Job Jordan Injured Day-Laborers 2005-06-23
    ...abd more than half cheated out of their wages. In case you had the impression that immigrant day-laborers are exploited and hurt (or killed) on the job, you were right. More than half of day laborers in the Washington area have been cheated out of their wages and one in four has been harmed on the job, according to a study being released today that tries to sketch a portrait of the informal workers. The study is based on the experiences of 476 day laborers in the District, Northern Virginia and Maryland, who were interviewed last year by a team affiliated with the University of California at Los Angeles. It depicts the typical worker as an industrious Latin American man who earns $991 a month.

    Post-Katrina Immigrant Workers Sue Michelle Roberts Post-Katrina immigrant workers not given what they were promised 2006-08-17
    Immigrants recruited post-Katrina have filed a lawsuit against Decatur Hotels LLC and its officials after promises of financial stability remain unfulfilled. According to the immigrants' attorney, Decatur has not yet reimbursed costly relocation expenses and hardly provides sufficient work hours. The suit also alleges that Decatur has abused their participation in the H-2B visa program, which prevents workers from working with other employers.

    Raids Draw Skepticism From Both Sides In Immigration Debate Jennifer Talham Homeland Security raids on Meatpacking Plants 2006-12-14
    A series of raids on meatpacking plants in six states added up to the largestever workplace crackdown on illegal immigration, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said Wednesday. Some 5 percent of the 1,282 arrests resulted in identity-theft charges.

    Recourse Grows Slim For Immigrants Who Fall Ill Nina Bernstein Help For Sick Immigrants 2006-03-03
    When Ming Qiang Zhao felt ill last summer, he law awake nights in the room he shared with other Chinese restaurant workers in Brooklyn. Though he had worked in New York for years, he had no doctor to call, no English to describe his growing uneasiness.

    Report from the Inaugural Meeting of the International Commission for Labour Rights Hubbard, Dean International Labor rights 2003-06-14 none
    Report of June 14, 2003 formal meeting of the International Commission for Labor Rights [ICLR] and meeting of the Administrative Council of the International Centre for Trade Union Rights [ICTUR] at headquarters of the International Labor Organization in Geneva. Focus on 1) sending Commissions of preeminent labor lawyers to Colombia to investigate the assassinations and disappearances of union activists; and 2)preparing a publication to provide practical assistance to workers' advocates seeking to enforce compliance with core international labor standards by international financial institutions.

    Rise, Peak and Decline: Trends in U.S. Immigration 1992-2004 Jeffrey S. Passel and Roberto Suro Immigration to the U.S. 2005-09-27
    The story behind immigration into the U.S. between the years of 1992 and 2004.

    RWDS Local 558 vs Pepsi Canada [2002] S.C.J. No. 7 2002 SCC 8 2002-01-24 Canada secondary picketing decision of the Supreme Court of Canada
    Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, Local 558 v. Pepsi-Cola Canada Beverages (West) Ltd. Secondary picketing decision of the Supreme Court of Canada. Labour law — Picketing — Secondary picketing — Union members picketing at locations other than employer's premises — Employer obtaining injunction prohibiting such secondary picketing — Whether secondary picketing illegal per se at common law — Whether picketing form of expression engaging s. 2(b) of Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms — Whether wrongful action model making secondary picketing which amounts to tortious or criminal conduct illegal should be adopted. The union engaged in a variety of protest and picketing activities during a lawful strike and lockout at one of the appellant's plants. These activities eventually spread to "secondary" locations, where union members and supporters picketed retail outlets to prevent the delivery of the appellant's products and dissuade the store staff from accepting delivery; carried placards in front of a hotel where members of the substitute labour force were staying; and engaged in intimidating conduct outside the homes of appellant's management personnel. An interlocutory injunction was granted which effectively prohibited the union from engaging in picketing activities at secondary locations. A majority of the Court of Appeal upheld the order against congregating at the residences of the appellant's employees, as these activities constituted tortious conduct. However, the section restraining the union from picketing at any location other than the appellant's premises was quashed, thus allowing the union to engage in peaceful picketing at secondary locations. Held: The appeal should be dismissed.

    SF Pledges to Use Purchasing Power to Produce Sweatshop Reform Lisa Leff Sweatshop-Free San Francisco 2005-09-13
    San Francisco supervisors unanimously approved a new law Tuesday that requires city contractors to guarantee in writing that the uniforms, computers and other goods they supply were not made by workers exploited in so-called "sweatshops."

    Solidarity Divided Chris Benner, Tony LoPresti, Martha Matsuoka, Manuel Pastor, and Rachel Rosner Labor Blog 2005-04-01
    Immigrant Workers Empowerment and Community Building: A Review of Issues and Strategies for Increasing Workforce and Economic Opportunity for Immigrant Workers

    Sour Grapes Marc Cooper California's Farm Workers' Endless Struggle 40 Years Later 2005-08-12
    When I knock on the door of the Orange Street address I've been given in this dusty down-at-the-heels agricultural town, I get only a shrug when I ask for Pedro Cruz. Pedro works the same Valpredo farm as did 41-year-old Salud Zamudio-Rodriguez, who passed out and died in 105-degree heat, one of three California farm workers to die last month.

    Study Finds Immigrant Workers in New Orleans are Vulnerable Associated Press, USA Today Immigrant Workers in New Orleans 2006-06-07
    Illegal immigrant workers rebuilding New Orleans are vulnerable to exploitation according to a study by professors at Tulane and UC Berkeley

    Study Finds Immigrant Workers In New Orleans Are Vulnerable Associated Press, USA Today Immigrants in New Orleans 2006-06-07
    Illegal immigrant workers rebuilding New Orleans are vulnerable to exploitation according to a study by professors at Tulane and UC Berkeley.

    Suit Filed To Block Herndon Labor Site Carol Morello Group Says Town Is Acting Illegally 2005-09-02
    The city of Herndon is being sued by the advocacy group, Judicial Watch, for establishing an official day laborer site. The legally sanctioned site provides an alternative to the parking lot at 7-Eleven. The group filing the suit believes it shouldn?t go forward because it "undermines and violates federal immigration law."

    Talking Points on Guest Workers David Bacon Guest Workers 2009-07-15
    Guest workers are given a visa to enter the US to work on a temporary basis. To obtain a guest worker visa, a worker must have an offer of employment, or a job waiting in the US. This requirement sets up a system of labor recruitment, in which labor contractors offer workers jobs, and make the travel arrangements for them to come.

    Ten Rules for Talking to Union Members About the Employee Free Choice Act Hart, Peter D - Research Associates STRATEGY - Ten rules for talking to union members about the Employee Free Choice Act 2008-01-01
    Ten rules for talking to union members about the Employee Free Choice Act.

    Testimony of Dr Gordon Lafer Lafer, Gordon TESTIMONY of Gordon Lafer 2007-02-08
    Statement of Dr Gordon Lafer before the US House of Representatives Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions - Hearing on Strengthening America's Middle Class Through the Employee Free Choice Act - Washington DC

    Testimony of Harley Shaiken Shaiken, Harley TESTIMONY of Harley Shaiken 2007-02-08
    Testimony of Harley Shaiken, Class of 1930 Professor Graduate School of Education and Department of Geography at the University of California at Berkeley, before the US House of Representatives Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions - Hearing on Strengthening America's Middle Class Through the Employee Free Choice Act - Washington DC

    Testimony of Nancy Schiffer Schiffer, Nancy TESTIMONY of Nancy Schiffer 2007-02-08
    Statement of Nancy Schiffer, Associate General Counsel, AFL-CIO before the US House of Representatives Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions - Hearing on Strengthening America's Middle Class Through the Employee Free Choice Act - Washington DC

    The Campaign for the Unpaid Wages Prohibition Act Jennifer Gordon Latino Immigrants Change New York Wage Law 2002-03-08
    Working Papers

    The Employee Free Choice Act - Background & Provisions AFL-CIO Employee Free Choice Act 2009-01-01
    Background and Provisions of the Employee Free Choice Act (2 pages)

    The Erosion of Worker Safety Peter Rousmaniere Worker Safety 2006-01-04
    Article about the poor status of Massachusetts worker safety system, particularly as it relates to immigrant workers.

    The Political Economy of Immigration Reform  The Corporate Campaign for a US Guest Worker Program 2004-11-01
    In 1947, after reading a newspaper article about the crash of a plane carrying a group of Mexican contract workers back to the border, Woody Guthrie wrote a poem, later set to music by Martin Hoffman. In haunting lyrics, he describes how the plane caught fire as it flew low over Los Gatos Canyon, near Coalinga at the edge of California’s San Joaquin Valley. Observers below saw people and belongings flung out of the aircraft before it hit the ground, falling like leaves, Guthrie says. While the Coalinga Record carried the names of the pilot and Border Patrol agent on the flight, no record was kept of the workers’ identity. They were all listed on the death certificates simply as “deportee.” That became the name of the song.

    The Right of Employees to Organize Unions American Anthropological Association Policy Brief Right to Organize 2007-09-27 http://www.aaanet.org/pdf/AAAPolicyBrief_092707.pdf
    The Right of Employees to Organize Unions.

    The Silent War: The Assault on Workers' Freedom to Choose a Union and Bargain Collectively in the United States AFL-CIO Right to Choose a Union and to Bargain Collectively 2005-09-01 AFL-CIO
    The freedom of workers to join together in unions and bargain collectively is a fundamental human right that U.S. labor law guarantees in principle. But when America's workers seek to exercise this right today, they nearly always run into a buzzs saw of employer threats, intimidation, coercion and outright warfare. The experiences of the workers quoted in this report, sad to say, are typical. These employer tactics are designed to suppress workers' freedom to organize a union, which they do with devastating effectiveness. The law, which is supposed to uphold and defend the right to form unions, has become a Catch-22 of ineffective enforcement and interminable delay. Millions of America's workers completely lack legal protection of their right to make a free choice to form or join a union. Workers in particular and society as a whole pay a huge price for the widespread denial of the freedom to form unions. This price is measured, in part, byt he suppression of wages, enormous and widening gaps in the distribution of income and wealth, weakening of the safety net, decline in civic and political participation, unchecked corporate power and harm to the quality of life. The worst casualty is democracy, int he workplace and the entire society. America's workers cnanot and must not accept this state of affairs. We are determined to fight back. To lean how, read on.

    The Social and Economic Consequences of Exclusionary Immigration Laws Felix S. Cohen Attitudes Towards Immigrants 1939-10-01
    Oct 1939 issue of the National Lawyers Guild Quarterly (Vol. II, No. 3) This Article discusses the anti-immigrant climate in Congress and the country, that these attitudes are commonly supported on the theories that (a) immigrants threaten the American standard of living, (b) that immigration increases unemployment, and (c) that immigration lowers the cultural level and menaces the American way of life. It then analyzes facts and statistics to show that each of these arguments are completely wrong(summary by Tova Indritz).

    Tips for Talking to Union Members AFL-CIO STRATEGY - Tips for talking to union members 2009-01-01
    Tips for talking to union members. (3 pages)

    U.S. Officials Defend Ploys to Catch Immigrants Steven Greenhouse U.S. Continue to Use Trickery to Catch Illegal Immigrants 2006-02-11
    Despite criticism from advocates for immigrants, federal immigration officials said in recent days that they would not forswear the practice of impersonating occupational safety officials to round up illegal immigrants. Last July, federal agents arrested 48 workers at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in North Carolina on charges of being illegal immigrants after the agents tricked the workers into attending what was billed as a mandatory training session sponsored by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

    U.S. Raids Six Meat Plants in ID Case Julia Preston Homeland Security raids on Meatpacking Plants 2009-12-13
    In simultaneous Dawn Raids, Federal Immigration Agents Swept Into Six Swift & Company meatpacking plants in six states yesterday, rounding up hundreds of immigrant workers in what the agents described as a vast vriminal investigation of identity theft.

    Unauthorized Migrants Jeffrey S. Passel Numbers And Characteristics 2005-06-14
    This report was developed as a briefing paper for the Independent Task Force on Immigration and America’s Future, co-chaired by former Senator Spencer Abraham (RMI) and former Congressman Lee Hamilton (D-IN). The bipartisan task force has been convened by the Migration Policy Institute in partnership with the Manhattan Institute and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. The report on the unauthorized population was presented to the task force by the Pew Hispanic Center, a nonpartisan research group in Washington DC, to provide a factual basis for its discussions. The Pew Hispanic Center, which does not engage in issue advocacy, is not participating in the task force’s deliberations or its policy recommendations. The report draws on both new research and previous work done by the author at the Pew Hispanic Center and the Urban Institute where he worked until January 2005.

    Undocumented Immigrant Workers Jordan What a Deal! 2005-01-29
    The decision was based on the Supreme Court’s 2002 Hoffman Plastics decision that held that undocumented immigrants were not entitled to back wages – even after being illegally fired for union activity – because their job was "obtained in the first instance by a criminal fraud." Some observers thought that the Hoffman decision meant that the workers would not be allowed to receive any award, although the court did not explain how it arrived at the prevailing wage in the worker's country of origin.

    Uneasy Terrain: The Impact of Capital Mobility on Workers, Wages and Union Organizing Bronfenbrenner, Kate Impact of Capital Mobility on Workers, Wages and Union Organizing 2000-09-01 http://www.citizenstrade.org/pdf/nafta_uneasy_terrain.pdf
    Uneasy Terrain: The Impact of Capital Mobility on Workers, Wages and Union Organizing. A report for the U.S. Trade Deficit Review Commission.

    Uneasy Terrain: The Impact of Capital Mobility on Workers, Wages, and Union Organizing. Part II: First Contract Supplement Dr. Kate Bronfenbrenner union organizing, first contracts, union elections 2009-04-23
    Threats of capital mobility on the union organizing process, first contract, and election outcomes.

    Unlicensed contractor charged in labor exploitation case Tyche Hendricks Contractor Accused of Treating Day Laborers Unfairly 2007-03-16
    San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris charged an unlicensed San Francisco construction contractor on Thursday with four felony counts of grand theft for allegedly cheating temporary workers out of their wages.

    Update On Floc In Mexico FLOC FLOC 2007-05-10
    The police in Mexico have shown a visible effort in investigating the murder of FLOC staff member Santiago Rafael since widespread calls for justice from around the world.

    What is OSHA Doing About Immigrant Worker Safety Jordan Immigrant Worker Safety 2004-04-13
    John Henshaw is pissed off. Why? A couple of weeks ago, AP reporter Justin Pritchard published an investigation into the workplace deaths of Mexican workers in the United States. Pritchard had written that "The jobs that lure Mexican workers to the United States are killing them in a worsening epidemic that is now claiming a victim a day, an Associated Press investigation has found."

    What's More Democratic than a Secret Ballot? The Case for Majority Sign-Up Lafer, Gordon Majority sign up for unions is more democratic than the current NLRB election procedures 2009-07-28 Working USA: The Journal of Labor and Society, Vol 11, March 2008, pp 71-98
    The election procedures of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) fall dramatically short of American standards defining "free and fair" elections, and indeed embody practices that our government would reject in any other country. This article examines the ways in which the Employee Free Choice Act, mandating union recognition based on signed statements from a majority of employees, redresses some of the most undemocratic aspects of current NLRB practice. Finally, the article argues that the analogy between unionization and elections to public office is fundamentally misplaced. When the act of union formation is correctly understood, the logic of creating a union through signed statements is even clearer. Ultimately it is unionization itself -- not the process through which employees choose to form a union -- that creates lasting democratic practices wthin the workplace.

    Why At Will Employment Is Bad For Employers And Just Cause is Good for Them Ellen Dannin Benefits to Employers 2007-01-05
    Ellen Dannin is a Professor of Law, Pennsylvania State University - Dickinson School of Law. She received her B.A. and her J. D. from the University of Michigan. She is the author of TAKING BACK THE WORKERS' LAW : HOW TO FIGHT THE ASSAULT ON LABOR RIGHTS (ILR Press 2006). This article is based on a presentation by Professor Dannin at the Labor and Employment Relations Association's (LERA) 59th Annual Meeting in Chicago.

    Why At-Will Employment is Bad for Employers and Just Cause is Good for Them Ellen Dannin At Will Employment 2009-04-23
    Prof. Ellen Dannin, Penn State Dickinson School of Law,examines recent judicial rulings in favor of employers under "At-Will" employment contracts. Originally presented at LERA's 59th Anniversary Meeting, Jan/2007

    Why We Need First-Contract Arbitration AFL-CIO HANDOUT - Why we need first-contract arbitration 2009-01-01
    Why we need first contract arbitration.

    Worker Centers Janice Fine Building Communities at the Edge of the Dream 2006-02-15
    (EPI's new book co-published with Cornell University) takes one of the first comprehensive looks at the rising phenomenon of worker centers, fast-growing institutions that improve the lives of immigrant workers through service advocacy and organizing. Immigrant workers are changing the landscape of low-wage work and the labor market, with President Bush advocating a guest-worker program, Congress pushing increased border security and patrol. But as national policy is debated, a locally based grassroots movement is taking the initiative to assist millions of immigrants in the American workforce facing poor pay, bad working conditions, and few prospects to advance to better jobs

    Worker Centers Janice Fine Organizing Communities at the Edge of the Dream 2005-12-14
    Economic Policy Institute EPI Briefing Paper #159