WASHINGTON (Nov. 30, 2011) — U.S. Congresswoman Betty McCollum (MN-04) issued the following statement Tuesday, regarding theWorkforce Democracy and Fairness Act (H.R. 3094).
This legislation represents yet another Republican tactic to dismantle unions and strip away workers’ rights. H.R. 3094 would deny workers their right to a free and fair election to form a union.
“I rise today in strong opposition to the so-called Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act.
“The changes to union election procedures promoted in this bill are the exact opposite of the kind of fair and democratic policies that our working families need. Instead of focusing on job creation and the revitalization of our middle class, the Republicans in this chamber are once again promoting legislation that undermines the rights of American workers.
“This proposed legislation would limit the ability of the National Labor Relations Board to interpret our nation’s labor laws and to protect worker’s right to unionize. For over 75 years, the National Labor Relations Act has guaranteed the rights of employees to organize and bargain collectively, or to refrain from such activity if they choose. During the New Deal, our predecessors in this body created the National Labor Relations Board as an independent agency charged with the oversight and enforcement of these rights. H.R. 3094, which overturns the rulings of the NLRB, undermines its charge to maintain fair and democratic relationships between unions and employers.
“This legislation allows the problem of prolonged delays in union elections to continue unchecked by adding mandatory and arbitrary waiting periods. It seizes from workers the right to determine their own representative membership groups, which would allow unscrupulous businesses to suppress election drives and vote down union representation. It would also make it possible for irresponsible and frivolous litigation to endlessly delay the election process, effectively barring workers from their fundamental right to collective bargaining representation in the workplace.
“Supporting and protecting America’s workers is an essential part of rebuilding our economy and ensuring that all families and communities share in our nation’s prosperity. Our middle class was built on the rights and safeguards that labor unions fought to obtain. From the 40 hour workweek to ending child labor, union representation has helped to guarantee rights that many of us take for granted today. “Unions negotiate for safe working conditions, living wages, and basic benefits that all impact all workers. Efforts to decrease the power of collective bargaining in this country in recent decades have been accompanied by an erosion of workers’ benefits and greater income inequality. This year in Wisconsin and Ohio, we have seen voters reject recent attempts to strip away the rights of government workers, and we should likewise reject this attempt to limit access to these rights for those in the private workforce.
“This bill does nothing to protect and support working families, and I urge my colleagues to stand up for workers rights and oppose this bill.”
Congresswoman Betty McCollum serves on the House Appropriations and Budget Committees.