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Protecting workers’ rights strengthens the economy

NEA President Van Roekel applauds introduction of Employee Free Choice Act


WASHINGTON - March 10, 2009 -

America’s labor unions have led the fight for working families, winning protections such as the 8-hour day and the 40-hour week, overtime rights, and access to health care and retirement security. NEA President Dennis Van Roekel urged all members of Congress to support the Employee Free Choice Act and continue that tradition.

The following can be attributed to NEA President Dennis Van Roekel:

“ Paychecks are shrinking, health care costs are skyrocketing, and America’s workers are struggling to make ends meet. In these tough times, when workers need more opportunities to get ahead, unions matter and make a difference. Workers in unions earn 28 percent higher wages on average, and are 62 percent more likely to have employer-covered health coverage.

“The Employee Free Choice Act recognizes that our nation’s workers deserve better. By protecting the right of workers to choose a union, it levels the playing field for employees and safeguards against the strong-arm tactics and intimidation of antiunion groups. Every year, over 20,000 workers are illegally fired or discriminated against for exercising their labor rights. In at least one quarter of all organizing efforts, an employer illegally fires a worker for supporting the union. America’s labor unions have made historic gains that benefit every American, and this legislation helps ensure that they continue to do so.”

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The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional organization, representing 3.2 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.

CONTACT: Will Potter
(202) 822-7823, wpotter@nea.org