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Employee Free Choice Act

Location: Washington, DC



Ms. PELOSI. Madam Chairwoman, I thank the gentleman for yielding, and I thank him for his great leadership, along with Chairman George Miller, in bringing this important legislation to the floor.

I proudly rise in support of the Employee Free Choice Act. I salute again the leadership of the committee. This legislation has long enjoyed bipartisan support; it took a Democratic majority to give us a chance to vote on it on the floor.

The Employee Free Choice Act is the most important labor law reform legislation of this generation. But this legislation is about more than labor law: it is about basic workers' rights. It is about majority rule. It is about ending discrimination and harassment in the workplace over organizing, and it is about protecting jobs. Under this bill, when a majority of workers say they want a union, they will get a union.

It is important to note, Madam Chair, that many of the benefits all workers, union members and others, all workers enjoy today are the results of the struggles of organized labor. Their victories have not just benefited union workers, but all workers. Millions of those who have never had the chance to join a union enjoy better wages, safer workplaces, and greater rights because of the battles fought by union members. Unions have helped make America the most prosperous, most productive Nation in the world with a vibrant middle class, so essential to our democracy. Organized labor has helped put America in the lead.

Today, 57 million workers say that they would join a union if they had a chance, to be part of an effort to keep America number one. And many, many hundreds of thousands of employers throughout this country work cooperatively with their unions representing their employees. In fact, this bill is very fair to employers, giving them recourse should they question the validity of the signatures on the card check.

The Employee Free Choice Act puts democracy back in the workplace so that the decision to form a union can be made by the employees that the union would represent. This is a standard right that we routinely demand for workers around the world. And it illustrates not only a respect for workers but a commitment to democracy. We should accept no less a standard here in America.

Many people, including the NAACP, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, many religious organizations support this legislation because it is fair. It has been cosponsored by 226 House Democrats. It has the support of 69 percent of the American people.

Democrats believe that we must make our economy fairer, and we began in the first 100 hours by passing the minimum wage bill with a strong bipartisan vote.

Today, we will take the next step with a strong bipartisan vote to ensure that America's working families have the right to organize, because the right to organize means a better future for them and for all of us. It means a future that is economically and socially just. It is that economic and social justice that drew so many religious organizations in support of this legislation, a future where the workplace is safe, a future where retirement is secure.

Madam Chair, every day when we begin the Congress, we begin with a pledge to the flag and how proud we are to do that. And we all take great pride in pledging the flag, to very clearly enunciate ``under God,' ``one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.' That is the pledge we make every morning, and we pledge it under God, liberty and justice for all.

Well, it is I think a disservice to that pledge and a dishonor to God whom we invoke in that, if we don't do in our work here, work that promotes liberty and justice for all. And that is what this bill does. It is about justice for all: all who want to express themselves in a way so they can bargain collectively, so that workers have the strength and the leverage to strengthen our middle class, to reach the fulfillment for their families, to make our democracy stronger.

I believe that this bill, the Employee Free Choice Act, is an honest continuation of the pledge that we make in the morning for liberty and justice for all.


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