What grassroots American movement can in the span of one week run 57 letters to the editor in newspapers across America, send 14,000 handwritten letters to 10 U.S. Senators, and simultaneously plan 35 grassroots advocacy events with workers in 10 states?
America's labor movement, the AFL-CIO, can. Now that the Employee Free Choice Act has been introduced in the U.S. House and Senate, organized labor's multi-state grassroots campaign is running at full throttle. Religious leader are speaking out for the Employee Free Choice Act to create fairness in the economy. Small business owners are sending letters, signing petitions, and testifying about the value to their business of having a union. Newly appointed Colorado Senator, Mike Bennet, says that at every campaign stop and town hall meeting, a worker asks his position on the Employee Free Choice Act.
All over America workers and folks who believe in workers rights and economic fairness are stepping up to counter Corporate America's increasingly desperate efforts to maintain their destructive stranglehold on our economy and our lives. They have lied over and over ad nauseam about the Employee Free Choice Act.
They have tried to bully U.S. Senators just as they do workers who try to form unions. They are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to obfuscate, distract, and confuse the public and lawmakers.
But the power of the truth and everyday hard-working American grassroot action is defeating their litany of lies.
The Wall Street Journal's editorial page finally admitted that the Employee Free Choice Act will not destroy secret ballot election. The Economic Policy Institute just released a study by John DiNardo, Professor of Economics and Policy at the University of Michigan that proves that unions do not harm businesses and do not destroy jobs. Even Erin Burnett of CNBC went to David Gregory's Meet the Press to explain that the "populist rage" sweeping America, results from 30 years of stagnant and declining wages, CEO pay that is 400 times as much as the average worker, a recession created at least in part by a lack of demand and buying power, and an obscenely top heavy economy.
Because of all this, the massive grassroots campaign, the failures and inequities of the economy, and the growing support for the Employee Free Choice Act; even sectors of Corporate America have smelled the coffee and are looking for compromise legislation. Three huge American corporations - Starbuck's, Costco, and Whole Foods have come forward with a compromise. Though their compromise is totally inadequate, it does signal that the ranks of Corporate America have broken and that passage of the Employee Free Choice Act is increasingly inevitable.
It is a rare, beautiful thing in America when we see the class solidarity of the upper classes break down. Sometimes it mistakenly seems that the class solidarity of the upper classes is the most powerful thing in our political economy. Of course, it isn't as we learned in November of 2008 and are learning again today.
As the momentum for the passage of the Employee Free Choice Act grows, so does the evidence of its necessity. The Federal Reserve's Survey of Consumer Finances has released dates showing that the net worth of the average American household is less today than in 2001. They also found that the wealth gap between white Americans and African-Americans has grown. That stands to reason. Black union workers make about 30% more than black non-union workers. Union membership is one of the most powerful tools we have to reduce wealth and income inequality. As workers - white and black - have lost the freedom to have unions and bargain collectively, inequality has grown exponentially so that we now have more inequality than at anytime since 1929.
Support and campaign work for the passage of the Employee Free Choice Act is growing all over America because more and more Americans know that this legislation is a simple, commonsensical way to restore the freedom of workers in American to form unions and bargain collectively and to create an economy that works for all of us.
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