Working people scored at least a temporary victory Thursday when the House voted for legislation that would make it easier for workers to form unions. (Thanks to all Nation readers who heeded my call to lobby their reps this past week.)
The Employee Free Choice Act would allow workers to form a union by individually signing cards rather than having to participate in a secret-ballot election. Union officials called it the most important piece of pro-labor legislation to pass a house of Congress in decades.
The legislation, which passed 241-185 on a mainly party-line vote (two Dems voted against the bill, 13 Republicans voted for it) faces an uphill journey to gain the 60 votes necessary to avoid a filibuster and pass in the Senate. The White House also announced Wednesday that President Bush would veto the bill if it reaches him.
But, despite the improbability of the bill becoming law in this Congress, the passage of the EFCA is nonetheless hugely important. As Miss Laura writes on Daily Kos, in order to defeat the bill and satisfy their corporate masters, "Republicans will have to go on record against workers. Not against unions, but against the millions of non-union workers in this country who want to join unions. Democrats are forcing them to lay that contempt for workers bare before the nation."
This is all for the good and stranger, more unexpected things have happened than this bill passing the Senate. Numerous groups as well as organized labor are ramping up their efforts for the upcoming Senate battle over this legislation. By making a donation to American Rights at Work, you can help provide critical support. Click here for more info on what American Rights is doing to defend the interests of US workers and watch this space for more info on the next stage of this battle.
The debate on the House floor prior to yesterday's vote was unusually impassioned. Rep. George Miller took the cake in making the case for the act. Check it out....