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'Free Choice Act' Would Streamline Union Organizing, Subvert Intimidation

May 7, 2007

A bill currently in the Senate would make it easier for workers to join unions. While pro-business groups call it 'un-democratic,' Christine Trujillo, president of the American Federation of Teachers in New Mexico says the "Employee Free Choice Act" would streamline the organizing process and make it more difficult for companies to intimidate workers.

“We still have union-busting lawyers that have coerced workers, have intimidated workers, and we've had to go to court. We've won because we follow the letter of the law, but some folks are very anti-union.”

Trujillo notes that the current system prevents many workers who may want to join a union from signing up.

“Surveys have shown that over 60 million working people would join a union if they were given that chance.”

Business groups say the 'Employee Free Choice Act" is "un-democratic" because it takes away the right to a secret ballot. Trujillo counters that right now, employers can force union organizers to 'jump through a number of hoops' before a vote to unionize can even be taken.

Trujillo adds that that local unions have run into similar problems in Gallup and other places around the state. She says the bill would give 'more teeth' to current penalties for employers who don't follow the law. Business groups say it opens the door to intimidation of workers by union organizers. The bill passed the House by a wide margin earlier this year.

Eric Mack, Public News Service - NM