Letter to the House on Collective Bargaining
March 13, 2012
Last summer, the more than 8,000 delegates to the 2011 National Education Association (NEA) Annual Meeting voted to support a Constitutional Amendment that would protect and grant employees the right to organize a union and collectively bargain with their employer regardless of the employer’s public or private sector status. In accordance with that vote, NEA calls on Congress to support a Constitutional Amendment protecting collective bargaining.
NEA strongly supports efforts to advance the rights of workers to organize and collectively bargain and strongly opposes any efforts to weaken these rights. 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. Today, the fight continues both to retain these vital rights and to ensure a fair minimum wage, and a safe and healthy workplace.
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.
In the education arena, collective bargaining helps ensure better learning conditions for children. Collective bargaining allows educators – who are in the classroom every day and know what works best for students -- to raise concerns and propose solutions about class size, school safety, and other important teaching and learning conditions. As the attached one-pager demonstrates, states with collective bargaining boast the highest student achievement on Scholastic Achievement Tests (SAT) and the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP), as well as the highest graduation rates.
Collective bargaining is a fundamental human and civil right. The preservation of basic human and civil rights has always been an issue of federal concern, particularly where states haven’t adequately protected those rights. We urge you to call for and support a Constitutional Amendment to protect employees’ rights to organize and union and collectively bargain.
Director, Center for Advocacy
Director of Government Relations