by Bob Burton Vice-President & Legislative Director
Greetings brothers and sisters,
This past spring has been very busy on the legislative side culminating with the
National Presidents Conference that was held in Baltimore, MD April 15-18. There
are many bills currently in Congress that are of importance to union members. They
include H.R.82 and S.206 both of which attempt to amend Title II of the Social Security
Act to repeal the Government pension offset and windfall elimination provisions.
Because the Postal Service employs many retired and disabled veterans many are subject
to this Act. Although Title II is important, the APWU is focusing primarily on the
Employee Free Choice Act. Under the bill, employees would be able to choose between
two options for gaining union recognition:
• A “card check” procedure, or
• The NLRB election process.
The Employee Free Choice Act would give American workers greater freedom to make
their own choices about joining unions and bargaining for better wages, benefits,
and working conditions. The EFCA would protect workers’ freedom of choice by requiring
employers to bargain with a union authorized by a majority through the card-check
procedure. The EFCA would also put some teeth in the laws that are designed to protect
workers, by adopting stronger and quicker penalties for violations by employers against
employees who attempt to organize a union or obtain a first contract.
On March 1, 2007, the House of Representatives passed EFCA by a vote of 241-185,
with eight members not voting. Thirteen Republicans joined 228 Democrats voting for
the bill, while two Democrats voted with 183 Republicans to oppose the bill. A senate
version of the bill (S.1041), introduced by Ted Kennedy is pending. When in Washington,
D.C. during the Presidents Conference I had the opportunity to meet and speak with
Senator Ken Salazar and he not only fully supports the bill but is also a co-sponsor.
I would encourage all of you to contact Senator Wayne Allard and ask him to support
this legislation and other legislation that will benefit the working people of Colorado.
Be mindful of the challenges ahead and help us elect a worker friendly to put in
the White House in 2008. The struggle continues.