PERI
Research AreasLabor Markets, Wages & PovertyScholars for the Employee Free Choice Act

Scholars in Support of the Employee Free Choice Act

We, the undersigned scholars, support the Employee Free Choice Act.

As economists, we understand the key role of collective bargaining in ensuring that workers receive an adequate share of the gains from their rising productivity. The decline in the percentage of workers covered by collective bargaining over the last thirty-five years is a major cause of the wide and growing gap between productivity and wages. This gap has contributed to the current financial crisis and deepening recession, as credit and unsustainable asset appreciation took the place of wage increases. The suppression of wages has also exacerbated economic inequality, and with it a host of other serious economic and social ills.

As law, labor studies, and business scholars, we understand that more than half of America’s non-union workers want a union in their workplace, but are prevented from getting one by a combination of weak law and employer interference. Last year, fewer than one out of every eight hundred workers who wanted a union was able to get one through the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) representation process. And we are mindful that the current NLRB representation process impedes development of the positive labor-management relationships that are essential in a high performance economy.

As political scientists, we understand that the current NLRB representation process routinely subjects workers to employer pressures that should not be tolerated in a democratic society and are antithetical to free and fair elections.

As historians, we understand the contribution of the labor movement to the well-being and quality of life of America’s workers, union and non-union alike. Unions and collective bargaining are essential to workplace democracy and justice on the job. Unions truly are the people who “brought you the weekend”— and contributed to the creation of Social Security, free and universal public education, equal rights, and much else. We are keenly aware that the majority sign-up route to union recognition provided by the Employee Free Choice Act has a long history and is in widespread use today in the U.S. and many other countries.

As human rights experts, we know that the freedom of workers to form unions and bargain collectively is a fundamental human right. We are appalled by the state of workers' freedom to form unions to in the U.S. today. Passage of the Employee Free Choice Act will greatly advance the protection of this fundamental human right.

As sociologists, anthropologists and scholars of all disciplines, we understand the importance of a strong, independent and democratic labor movement as a counterweight against excessive corporate power and a bulwark of social inclusion and political participation.

Accordingly, for each of these reasons and more, we strongly support the Employee Free Choice Act and all of its provisions.

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