Union jobs in Alaska are better jobs. A union worker earns more money than a nonunion worker, is more likely to have employer-provided health insurance, and is four times more likely to have a pension. Unions are family friendly.
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Nevertheless, in 25 percent of organizing campaigns, private-sector employers illegally fire workers because they want to form a union. Even after workers successfully form a union, in one-third of the cases, employers do not negotiate a contract.
That's why it is so important for Alaskans to know that on March 1 the U.S. House passed the Employee Free Choice Act with a 241-185 majority, including 13 Republicans (Don Young voted "Yes"). The act, supported by a bipartisan coalition in Congress, would enable working Americans to bargain for better wages, benefits and working conditions by restoring workers' freedom to choose for themselves whether to join a union. In addition, the act would establish stronger penalties for violation of employee rights when workers try to form a union.
Help Sen. Ted Stevens and Sen. Lisa Murkowski do the right thing for Alaska families. Urge them to vote for the Employee Free Choice Act.
Lawrence D. Weiss
Executive director, Alaska Center for Public Policy