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Democratic National Committee Backs Employee Free Choice


Democratic National Committee Backs Employee Free Choice
by Mike Hall, Dec 3, 2007

The long list of supporters of the Employee Free Choice Act got a significant new addition last week when the Democratic National Committee gave unanimous approval to a resolution calling the workers’ rights legislation “a top priority” for any new Democratic administration and Congress in 2009.

The presidential candidates who attended the Virginia meeting spoke out in support of the legislation that was passed by the House this spring, but was blocked by Senate Republicans. New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, Sens. Joe Biden (Del.) and Barack Obama (Ill.), former Sen. John Edwards (N.C.) and Rep. Dennis Kucinch (Ohio) voiced their support for the measure to protect workers’ freedom to form unions and bargain collectively.

Sen. Hillary Clinton (N.Y.) was forced to cancel her appearance at the meeting because of the hostage crisis—which was peacefully resolved—at her New Hampshire headquarters. Sen. Chris Dodd (Conn.) was on the campaign trail in Iowa. Both Dodd and Clinton support the Employee Free Choice Act. Former Sen. Mike Gravel (D-Alaska) has not take a postion on the measure.

The DNC resolution addresses the routine use of illegal tactics by employers to thwart workers’ efforts to join unions and the insignificant penalties for violations of workers’ rights. It also points to the Bush administration’s anti-worker, anti-union National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) as among the major obstacles for the 60 million U.S. workers who say they would join a union if given the opportunity.

The DNC resolution says the work by the bills’ chief sponsors, Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) and Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), to build support for the Employee Free choice Act is an important prelude to final passage in 2008, or at the very latest during the first 100 days of the 111th Congress. The resolution says:

If the Employee Free Choice Act is not passed by Congress in 2008, the DNC urges the new Democratic president and Democratic leadership in Congress to make passage of the Employee Free Choice Act a top priority in 2009.

The resolution also calls on Democratic officeholders and candidates at all levels to support local organizing and collective bargaining campaigns. The DNC did just that last week when it moved its meeting to a unionized hotel in Virginia from its original location at a Maryland hotel, where the new owners are refusing to negotiate with the workers’ union.

The DNC joins a long list of organizations and national, state and local lawmakers and legislative bodies that have passed resolutions or signed letters supporting the Employee Free Choice Act.

In 2005, the DNC approved a resolution backing the Employee Free Choice Act that was before the 109th Congress.

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