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Teachers' Group In PA Says "Free Choice Is The Only Choice"

May 20, 2009

Harrisburg, PA - As lawmakers in Washington consider a piece of legislation making it easier for more American workers to unionize, Pennsylvania's largest teachers' union calls it a "measure whose time has come." According to James Testerman, president of the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA), the Employee Free Choice Act would give the right to unionize to the nearly 200,000 teachers, support staff and nurses PSEA represents - and do it in the way that they, not their employer, want.

"The Act has real penalties for employers who engage in union-busting activities. Employers are forced to sit down and bargain a competitive contract within a reasonable period of time."

Opponents of the measure have concerns because it would not require a secret-ballot election. PSEA says the legislation does give workers a choice in how they decide whether to form a union: either through a majority of workers signing cards in support of the union, or through an election. According to PSEA, the bill does not change how workers will form unions through secret-ballot elections, if they choose to do so.

Testerman says employees should get a chance to share in the wealth companies have been realizing for some time now.

"Worker productivity in the United States is up, but employee wages are stagnant. There needs to be a more even distribution of the productivity gains that have been garnered over the last 10 or 20 years."

More information is available by calling PSEA, 1-717-255-7000.

Tom Joseph, Public News Service - PA