Senator, newspaper were misleading

Published 11:59 pm Friday, March 27, 2009

Dear Editor,

This is in response to the article in the Tuesday paper that quoted Sen. Richard Shelby and the article in Wednesday’s paper put forth by the Andalusia Star-News and the position you have taken on the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) bill.

The fact of the matter is that the Employee Free Choice Act does not get rid of elections. It gives workers two ways to form unions so they can bargain for better wages and benefits. It allows workers to have a union once a majority of employees in a workplace signs authorization cards indicating they want to form a union. The workers can also choose a National Labor Relations Board-supervised election.

Both of these avenues are now available for workers to form a union. The difference is, under current law, employers can choose how their workers go about deciding how to form a union. Under the Employee Free Choice Act, the decision is made by workers. What can be more democratic?

We live in a consumer economy built on low wages and debt. When credit dries up, consumers with discounted wages cannot spend. With low wages, consumers are limited in their disposable income with revenue generated in the economy trickling out to outsourced jobs and not “down” to working people to spend.

This is a system destined to fail. There has not been greater income inequality between the wealthy and working people at any point since the Great Depression. When workers form unions, their jobs become solid middle class jobs, supporting jobs with health care and retirement security. Years of deregulation, privatization and anti-union forces have created the mess we’re in now.

The only way to get out of this mess is by passing the Employee Free Choice Act. Take a moment to contact your senator today and make sure they stand with American workers and not a trickle down system rigged to fail. It is my opinion that Sen. Shelby should be ashamed for misinforming his constituents, and considering that here in Alabama the median family income is somewhere in the nature of $40,000 per year, according to 2006 census reports, these are the very middle class people that EFCA would help the most.

Fear mongering such as Sen. Shelby’s comments that this nation will see the biggest exodus of jobs overseas that this country has ever seen is just plain wrong and is nothing more than a form of intimidation much like big corporations’ tactics when any mention of that oh so dirty word “union” is uttered by an employee. The question begs to be asked — exactly for whom does Sen. Shelby work, the people of Alabama, or is it someone else entirely? I hope the people of Alabama will think about this very carefully.

Teresa Tolbert

Red Level