Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Employee Free Choice Act Introduced Today! (Expect More Mayor McCheese Sightings in the Near Future)

Mayor McCheese was strutting around in front of the White House yesterday thoughtlessly showing off his dollar sign adorned burlap sack. Not a good idea in the robber-happy District of Columbia, just today a CVS I often frequent on U st (fairly safe) got knocked off at 3'o'clock in the afternoon. Just because that bag isn't full of burgers doesn't mean you'll go unburgled, Mr. Mayor.

Though, only a few feet from this walking sideshow, is this woman with this protest sign leading me to believe that there must be something deeper going on here...

To get to the bottom of this mystery, I've garnered the help of DC union organizer, John Aho, who explains that this is indeed a deep issue. One as deep as the pockets of some of the richest, most anti-union corporations around.
Why are you looking at a picture of people with hamburgers, moneybags and cashiers in the place of their heads?It all started Monday afternoon. Lafayette Park, which is across from both the White House and the Chamber of Commerce, hosted a protest against big business’s opposition to the Employee Free Choice Act, which was introduced in congress today. Burger King, Bank of America (despite taking billions in taxpayer dollars) and Walmart are among the companies spending millions of dollars to defeat the bill (hence the silly costumes). Big Business hates the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) because it would mean extra money out of their already bulging pockets, since union workers make more money, and receive better benefits than their non-union counterparts.

The EFCA is important for many reasons, first, it fixes the current broken system of forming unions, and moves to a more level playing field for workers and management.
Second, it would allow workers to organize unions without intimidation and harassment from management. The EFCA would ban mandatory anti-union meetings and increase penalties for illegal firing of pro-union workers (which happens more than 25% of the time!). Lastly, it would force companies to bargain with their workers in good faith; and allow workers to choose whether they want their Union recognized through an election or a majority signup process.
Okay, when he says "silly costumes," I'm pretty certain he means amazing costumes. Though more importantly, unions and their members get a pretty awful rap as gangsters, thieves, or layabouts because there are more stereotypes about them in the mainstream consciousness than facts due to a huge lack of education about labor issues. Really, unions are just fighting against corporations (isn't that what we're all doing?) on behalf of workers. Workers who get screwed out of a health care, a living wage (7 bucks an hour isn't cutting it), and workplace safety (without unions you could get hurt on the job, and then fired for not performing).

Unions also make sure women get the workplace equality (like promotions!) that they deserve - this is especially helpful in traditionally male jobs like carpentry, and construction. In fact, in December a new study called Unions and Upwards Mobility for Women Workers was released with good news for women. It showed that for women, being a member of a union is "on par with having a college education." Pro women? Pro union!

So if you've have ever had a job that you wanted to not be treated like crap at, but you lacked the power to change anything, strap on that hamburger hat and grab your sack 'o' cash because now's the time to start supporting the Employee Free Choice Act.



super des said...

The pictures alone are almost enough.


emrez said...

Alright, so this is only slightly off topic: I read on the EEOC's website that Burger King (one of the companies Aho mentioned) recently just settled in a sexual harassment case of an 18 year old for a hostile environment in which the general manager regularly harassed her, and when reported to assistant managers, no one did anything about that.

Unfortunately, Burger King is one of the only quick restaurants we can eat at when we're roadtripping, so I still don't know how to balance all this.