Hoyer on the Employee Free Choice Act

i want to TimeCode: 13:07:04.3 congratulate george miller as chairman of the education and labor committee. george miller has been throughout my career all 26 years that i have been here, he and i served together, he has been one of the most courageous, emfatic and TimeCode: 13:07:22.6 faithful speakers on behalf of working americans that we have in this house. i want to thank my friend rob andrews, who has been an advocate of making sure that working americans had TimeCode: 13:07:38.6 opportunities in our country. mr. speaker, this bipartisan legislation, employee free choice act, is about establishing fairness in the workplace. and providing america's workers with a free choice to bargain for better working conditions. TimeCode: 13:07:54.0 i think that's absolutely essential if we are going to stop this growing disparity between the very wealthy, tvs and the increasingly have nots. america is a great and strong TimeCode: 13:08:11.4 country because of its middle class. that is shrinking. that is a challenge to our country. this is an effort to address that. TimeCode: 13:08:22.1 fact of the matter is, the current system for forming labor unions is badly broken and undemocratic. far too often, employers intimidate, harass, coerce or even fire workers who support a union. to address this blatant TimeCode: 13:08:38.7 unfairness, this legislation allows workers to form a union if a majority signs cards saying they want a union. under current law, workers may use the majority signup process only if their employer agrees. TimeCode: 13:08:56.2 in contrast, the employee free choice act would leave this choice whether to use the national labor elections board process or majority signup with the employees, not the employer. TimeCode: 13:09:11.4 it is simply a red herring to claim that the legislation abottlishes the election process. although i will say as an aside, that the delays, the underfunding of the rule TimeCode: 13:09:28.4 complication essentially abottlishes in some respects the nlrb's intent. in any event, it does not abolish the nlrb. the nlrb process is still available if workers choose it. TimeCode: 13:09:46.3 we all know what's going on here today. it's no secret. the administration and many of the republican party have a long-standing, deep seeded animosity towards the organized labor movement. despite the fact that working TimeCode: 13:10:01.3 men and women are the backbone of our economy and have built our country into what it is today. i'm a strong proponent of the free market system. i'm a strong proponent of business. and those who grow businesses and create jobs. TimeCode: 13:10:17.2 i say all over this country, the democratic party is the party of workers. we have to be the party of employers. but we need to make sure there's a balance. we are not the representatives of either. what we are representatives of TimeCode: 13:10:33.4 is the american people and we need to make sure this is a fair opportunity. offer the last six years, the administration, among other things, has dropped a safety standard, tried to eliminate protections, denied bargaining TimeCode: 13:10:50.5 rights to 800,000 employees. 800,000 employs east. and we just reached in and said, if you are at the defense department employee or a TimeCode: 13:11:06.4 homeland security, you can't have collective bargaining rights. i asked the office of personnel management, cite me one instance in the last half a century where collective bargaining rights have put at risk any national security TimeCode: 13:11:22.3 issue. they could not name one in the last half century. not one. i have a gentleman pointing at himself, i can name you one. TimeCode: 13:11:38.8 well this office of personnel management, could not. it is no surprise today that they will oppose this legislation, which serves to give workers a meaningful choice in selecting their TimeCode: 13:11:54.7 representation and stiffen penalties for discrimination against workers who support a union. mr. speaker, hard working families today are increasingly squeezed by stagnant incomes and the rising costs of education, health care, TimeCode: 13:12:09.9 transportation, food and housing. and there is not an employee who is on even footing as an individual. perhaps that's not correct. i was alonzo, he may be on an equal fighting because his TimeCode: 13:12:31.7 employer needs him very badly. but if you are six foot, two you may not be in that position. workers need to be fully compensated and this legislation will help restore TimeCode: 13:12:47.7 fairness to the workplace. i urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle not to be pro-labor or pro-business, but to be pro-worker, pro-middle class, pro-growing america. vote for this bill.