Rep. Baca Votes to Protect Workers' Rights
Rep. Joe Baca (D-CA) voted today to protect workers' rights to organize and bargain for fair wages and working conditions as the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Employee Free Choice Act (H.R. 800). The vote was 241-185.
Rep. Baca said, "Millions of American families are better off because of unions. Many workers would like to join a union so they have collective power to negotiate for fair pay, decent benefits and workplace safety, but often they are harassed, intimidated or even fired by their employers if they express support for a union. This legislation will make sure that when workers choose to form a union, the employer will recognize the union."
The Employee Free Choice Act provides for certification of a union if a majority of workers sign authorizations designating the union as their bargaining representative. The Act also allows either a union or employer engaged in bargaining for their first contract to refer their dispute to the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service for mediation and if necessary to binding arbitration if they are unable to reach agreement within 90 days. Although currently employers are required to bargain in good faith, a recent study found that 34% of union election victories had not resulted in a first contract.
In addition, the legislation strengthens penalties against employers for violations against employees attempting to organize a union or negotiate a first contract.
Rep. Baca said, "I am proud to stand up on behalf of American workers and proud of the Democratic Party's record of protecting hard-working men and women in their struggle against wealthy and powerful corporations for basic protections."