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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

March 27, 2009 at 2:02 PM

Employee Free Choice Act

Passage would benefit our children

I recently read Bruce Ramsey’s March 18 column [“The Employee Faux Choice Act,” Opinion], which included many of the same, tired misconceptions held by some in the corporate world. As president of the American Federation of School Administrators and a member of the AFL-CIO Executive Council, I would like to offer a real-world perspective on what the Employee Free Choice Act really does and means to children and struggling Americans.

A recent study, Demographic Trends and the Federal Role in Education, by Hodgkinson (2008), supports the notion that economics, rather than race, gender or ethnicity, has a greater impact on a child’s education — and so children who live in economically stable homes have a greater chance of educational success. While the word “union” has become a pariah with employers and the public, research also shows that worker productivity has continued to increase in America, while wages have decreased, benefiting employers — not workers.

Yet, the Employee Free Choice Act simply offers a respectable choice for workers — to decide whether or not to join a union. The National Labor Relations Act currently allows for a secret ballot process. The Employee Free Choice Act simply offers employees the choice of using the current process or another — sign a majority of cards to form a union. The business community has used the issue of secret ballots as a red herring because CEOs fear a decrease in profits should workers unionize.

Our children need the Employee Free Choice Act. Let’s provide children of all economic backgrounds with opportunities to live in stable environments and achieve in school and in life.

— Jill S. Levy, president, American Federation of School Administrators, Washington, D.C.

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