Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Chicago City Council Supports Employee Free Choice

The following resolution supporting the Employee Free Choice was passed by the Chicago City Council on February 11, 2009.

WHEREAS, in 1935, the United States Congress approved the National Labor Relations Act thereby declaring the United States’ policy to encourage the practice of collective bargaining by protecting the exercise by workers of their freedom of self-organization, association and choice of representation for the purpose of negotiating the terms and conditions of their employment; and

WHEREAS, the freedom to form or join a union has been internationally recognized by the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a fundamental human right; and

WHEREAS, since their inception, unions have provided a better standard of living, health and pension benefits, and equal and fair treatment for all of its members; and

WHEREAS, unions also provide benefits to the communities where their members reside by strengthening the living standards, stabilizing the tax basis, and encouraging civic participation of its members in these towns and cities; and

WHEREAS, unionized employees earn on average thirty percent (30%) more than non-union employees and are sixty-three percent (63%) more likely to have employer-provided healthcare benefits; and

WHEREAS, over half of all workers in the United States, approximately sixty million (60,000,000) people, have said that they would join a union if they could; and

WHEREAS, despite laws providing for the right to choose whether to organize, employers routinely use a combination of tactics (both legal and some illegal) in order to silence employees who attempt to form unions and bargain for better wages and working conditions; and

WHEREAS, when faced with organizing drives, one quarter of employers fire at least one (1) pro-union worker; over half of all employers threaten to close a worksite if the union prevails; and approximately ninety-one percent (91%) of employers force their employees to attend one-on-one anti-union meetings with their supervisors; and
WHEREAS, when the rights of workers to form a union are violated, wages decline, race and gender pay gaps widen, workplace discrimination increases, and job safety standards lapse; and

WHEREAS, as a result of these behaviors by employers throughout the country, lawmakers and policymakers have introduced the Employee Free Choice Act into the United States Congress in order to restore workers’ freedom to join unions; and

WHEREAS, the City of Chicago has a long history in supporting the efforts of the common working man and woman and is well known as a Pro-Union Town; and

WHEREAS, the Chicago City Council has determined that, in order to protect the residents of Chicago and to ensure the economic well-being of the City, it must ensure that all employers in the City of Chicago permit and allow for its employees to freely form, join or assist labor organizations; now therefore

BE IT RESOLVED, That we, the Mayor and Members of the City Council of the City of Chicago, do hereby memorialize the Congress of the United States to enact the Employee Free Choice Act that would protect and preserve the freedom of America’s workers to organize and join unions by authorizing the National Labor Relations Board to certify a union as the bargaining representative when a majority of employees voluntarily sign authorization cards (commonly known as “card check” recognition), providing for first contract mediation and arbitration, and establishing meaningful penalties for violations of a worker’s right to join a union; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that a suitable copy of this resolution be delivered to each member of the Illinois Delegation to the United States Congress, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, the President Pro Tempore of the United States Senate, and the President of the United States, Barack H. Obama.

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