STATEMENT OF SENATOR EDWARD M. KENNEDY ON THE EMPLOYEE FREE CHOICE ACT
WASHINGTON, DC: Today, as the Senate prepares to take up the Employee Free Choice Actwith a possible vote on Thursday, Senator Kennedy issued the following statement. Also belowis a fact sheet on how the Act will help restore middle class security.
“Now that the House has passed the Employee Free Choice Act with bipartisan support, I’mpleased that the Senate is moving forward on this important piece of legislation. We’ve finallyraised the minimum wage but we still have a long way to go to restore the economic securitythat has been lost during the Bush years. Working people aren't getting their fair share ofour economic growth. Their hard work is producing skyrocketing corporate profits – nothigher paychecks, better benefits, or better lives for their families. The best way to see thatemployees get their fair share is to give them a stronger voice.”
THE EMPLOYEE FREE CHOICE ACT RESTORES MIDDLE CLASS SECURITY
The Bush economy is not working for working Americans.
* Americans are working harder than ever in the Bush economy. Productivity has been risingand companies are making huge profits on the backs of their workers. Corporate profits areup by more than 83% since 2001.* Inequality has also reached alarming levels. Today, more than 40% of total income is goingto the wealthiest 10 percent of Americans – the biggest gap in more than 65 years.* Six million Americans have lost their health insurance, and their retirement security is fadingas well. We have created an economy that works for Wall Street, but not Main Street, andworking families are being left behind.* It’s little wonder that most Americans want a voice at work in these insecure times. In arecent survey, 58 percent of Americans indicated they would join a union if they could, arecord number.The freedom to choose a union is vital to restoring the American Dream, especially for themost vulnerable Americans.* Unions help American workers get their fair share – union wages are almost 30% higherthan non-union wages. Unions are also a cure for rising inequality because they raise wagesmore for low- and middle-wage workers than for higher-wage workers.• Union cashiers earn 46% more than non-union cashiers.• Union food preparation workers earn nearly 50% more than non-union workers.• Union maids and housekeepers earn 31% more than their non-union counterparts.* The freedom to join a union is a women’s issue and a civil rights issue. Union women earn31 percent more than women workers who don’t have a union. African American unionmembers earn 36 percent more, and Latino workers earn 46 percent more.* Union workers are almost twice as likely to have employer-sponsored health benefits and apension at work. They are more than four times more likely to have a secure, defined-benefitpension plan than non-union workers.* Protecting the freedom to choose a union benefits all Americans, whether or not they have aunion at work. In industries and occupations where many workplaces are unionized, nonunionemployers will frequently meet union standards or otherwise improve compensation. Ahigh school graduate in a non-union workplace whose industry is 25 percent unionized getspaid 5 percent more than similar workers in less unionized industries.