Workers rally for Employee Free Choice Act – pt 2

06/20/07 Seán Kinane
WMNF Drive-Time News Wednesday | Listen to this entire show:

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. WMNF’s 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 Tuesday’s rally in Tampa was Cheryl Schroeder, Executive Director of the West Central Florida Federation of Labor.

ACT Schraeder
Describes legislation

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.

“Well, we have a pretty good chance of getting it through Congress this time. And President Bush has …said he would veto...”

The organizers of the rally said they chose to protest outside of a Verizon Wireless office building because of that company’s 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.

“The biggest factor is the Verizon Wireless employees have no voice in the workplace. They’re intimidated; they’re treated less than they should be. And again they don’t have a union contract to fall back on or any protection on the jobsite.”

[Question-Kinane] “Do you think that if this bill passes, that these employees would join a union?”
“Yeah we already know that thousands of them already want to do that. And I’m sure once this bill passes, that we will certainly have some movement there.”

Verizon Wireless did not return WMNF’s 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.

Don’t like that ‘secret ballot’ is being done away with.

To find out more about the Employee Free Choice Act, visit the website employeefreechoice –dot- org

For WMNF News, I’m Sean Kinane

Employee Free Choice Act

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