Chairman Miller Statement on President's Veto Threat on Employee Free Choice Act
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- U.S. Rep. George Miller (D-CA), chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee and sponsor of the Employee Free Choice Act, issued the following statement today in response to a White House announcement that President George W. Bush would veto the legislation:
"President Bush has used his veto power sparingly since taking office, but given the radical agenda he has pursued over the last several years it should come as no surprise to anyone that he would threaten to veto much-needed legislation to help workers bargain for a better life. I would strongly urge the President to reconsider his position on the Employee Free Choice Act, because its enactment is critical to ensuring that the American economy benefits everyone.
"Beyond that, it is incredible -- even by the standards of this administration -- how many misleading claims, half-truths, and inaccuracies are contained in the President's Statement of Administration Policy on the Employee Free Choice Act. The Employee Free Choice Act does not eliminate workers' ability to seek a National Labor Relations Board election if they so choose. The administration's statement ignores the fact that penalties for unions that break the law are already far more effective than penalties for employers who break the law. The administration statement says that workers would 'lose substantial control over their employment situation,' when, in fact, the opposite is obviously true: by enabling workers to bargain for better wages, benefits, and working conditions, the legislation would them much greater control over their employment situation.
"Finally, the administration's statement ignores the fact that it is employers, not unions, who routinely harass, intimidate, fire, and reassign workers who try to form a union. In a study of a more than 60-year period, the Human Resources Policy Association listed 113 NLRB cases that they claimed involved union deception or coercion in obtaining authorization card signatures. Careful examination of those cases, however, reveals that union misconduct was found in only 42 of those 113 claimed cases. By contrast, in 2005 alone, more than 30,000 workers received back pay from employers that illegally fired or otherwise discriminated against them for their union activities.
"It is beyond me why the President and Republican leaders in Congress refuse to trust American workers to make these choices for themselves. They should rethink their opposition to the legislation. And at the very least, they should conduct this debate honestly."
For more information on the Employee Free Choice Act -- including endorsing organizations, bill summaries, and worker testimonials -- click here.