|For The Record|
Wisconsin Congressional WatchTEAM
Creates Company Unions
The Teamwork for Employees and Management Act, introduced by Senator Jim Jeffords (R-VT) and Representative Harris Fawell (R-U), would amend Section 8(a)(2) of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) to permit employers to establish assist, maintain or participate in organizations for employees. Such organizations would bargain over working conditions. Their membership would be subject to employer approval.
Free unions which are independent of employer control are guaranteed by law. The right to free unions as a fundamental right in this country and, elsewhere, such as in Poland by Solidarity, is a hallmark of democracy.
However, the Chamber of Commerce and other business organizations see free unions as an impediment to the U.S. being competitive on the world market and a drag on employer profitability.
They contend that current law is too restrictive in allowing employees to work with management on new production techniques.
They want Congress to change the Wagner Act (NLRA) which prohibits an employer from dominating or interfering with unions.
Oppose S. 295 and H.R. 634
Current law allows the use of labor-management teams or employee involvement (EI). EI programs are legal in both union and non-union workplaces. Over 80% of the largest employers in the US use them.
LIUNA is a leader in working with employers on training, safety and other important items through LECET, Laborers-AGC and the Health & Safety Fund. We support genuine and legitimate cooperation with our own representatives, not people hand-picked by the company. Such cooperation is based on and flourishes because of our independence. The TEAM Act threatens such cooperative efforts.
It is undemocratic to let employers dictate who can and can not represent workers on workplace issues. It legalizes company unions and sets an extremely dangerous precedent. For example, this bill allows a company to pick employee representatives, determine what issues will be discussed, dictate the results of those discussions and dismiss from the team any employee who does not cooperate.
The bill does nothing to protect employees from harassment, threats or illegal firings that may occur if the employees decide they like the teams so much that they want their own union.
The ultimate goal of many of the bills supporters on Capitol Hill and in the business community is to further weaken a unions status as the exclusive representative of the workers.
The Senate Labor & Human Resources Committee, chaired by Jeffords, has completed its work on S 295. When the Senate has sufficient support it will vote on the bill.
The House Education and Workforce Committee has not approved H.R. 634 but is expected to act on the Senate version if passed.
President Clinton has promised to veto the current proposals.
Call or write US Senators Herb Kohl and Russ Feingold. Use the toll-free number: 1-800-522-6721. When the Capitol switchboard answers, ask for your Senator and urge them to vote against this legislation.
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