Workers rally for Employee Free Choice Act â pt 2
Yesterday, WMNF reported on a rally by labor unions and their supporters in front of a Verizon Wireless office in West Tampa. The workers were rallying support for the Employee Free Choice Act, which would make it easier for workers to form labor unions. WMNFâs Sean Kinane has more.
On Tuesday Senate Democratic leaders moved to force a vote on the bill later this week. But Senate Republicans are threatening a filibuster, which would continue debate rather than bringing the Employee Free Choice Act to a vote. One of the organizers of Tuesdayâs rally in Tampa was Cheryl Schroeder, Executive Director of the West Central Florida Federation of Labor.
Roy Weatherford is the Political Action Director of the United Faculty of Florida Chapter at the University of South Florida. The Employee Free Choice Act has already passed the House and if it passes the Senate, Weatherford says that President Bush promises to veto it.
âWell, we have a pretty good chance of getting it through Congress this time. And President Bush has â¦said he would veto...â
The organizers of the rally said they chose to protest outside of a Verizon Wireless office building because of that companyâs hostility toward employees wishing to unionize. Doug Sellers is the Business Manager of IBW Local 824, which represents Verizon employees in Florida. He explains that the policy of Verizon Wireless contrasts with that of Verizon, which has a more favorable attitude toward its employees attempting to unionize.
âThe biggest factor is the Verizon Wireless employees have no voice in the workplace. Theyâre intimidated; theyâre treated less than they should be. And again they donât have a union contract to fall back on or any protection on the jobsite.â
[Question-Kinane] âDo you think that if this bill passes, that these employees would join a union?â
âYeah we already know that thousands of them already want to do that. And Iâm sure once this bill passes, that we will certainly have some movement there.â
Verizon Wireless did not return WMNFâs phone calls by deadline.
Some business groups oppose the Employee Free Choice Act. The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce does not have an official position on the Act, but they said that both the U.S. and Florida Chambers of Commerce are urging Senators to vote against it. Chris Smith is the Public Policy Vice President of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce.
Donât like that âsecret ballotâ is being done away with.
To find out more about the Employee Free Choice Act, visit the website employeefreechoice âdot- org
For WMNF News, Iâm Sean Kinane
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Employee Free Choice Act