Students Speak Out this Week in Support of the Employee Free Choice Act

By the Student Labor Action Project

The broad coalition of workers, community, faith groups, notable economists, and legislators supporting the Employee Free Choice Act has gained another vocal and energized member: the student movement.

Big business is spending millions on its campaign of misinformation on the Employee Free Choice Act and is hailing the bill’s death in the Senate. Unfortunately for these anti-worker interests, the fight for a level playing field between CEOs and workers, freedom of association in the workplace, and an economy that works for everyone is just  heating up—and students are now leading the charge!

During this year’s 10th National Student Labor Week of Action hosted by the Student Labor Action Project , cries for “Free Choice Now” are being heard on college campuses across the country. As student workers and soon-to-be members of the workforce, students are demanding labor law reform as part of their effort to “Resist and Reclaim” the future. Faced with ballooning student-loan debt, increasing unemployment, and the prospect of higher health care costs and squeezed entitlement programs, today’s youth—more than any other generation—are recognizing the need to rebuild the middle class and restore opportunity and a sense of fairness to the economy.  These students are pointing to the Employee Free Choice Act as a key to this brighter future.

“When I’m done with school, I want to be able to get a good job that allows me to have a voice at work through a union,” said Mario Moretto, a student at the University of Maine – Orono.  “There are workers out there who want to join a union but can’t because the NLRB election process is horribly stacked against them.”

Here are some of the highlights from this week’s student actions to demand passage of the Employee Free Choice Act:

· At the University of Maine wildcat SLAP students are holding a call in day to lobby their representatives in Congress for the passage of the Employee Free Choice Act. Following this action, students are hosting a symposium, featuring Barbara Ehrenreich, to discuss how this legislation will build a just and sustainable economy
· In Kansas, at Wichita State University, Young Democratic Socialist students are holding a workshop on the importance of unions and collecting signatures on postcards urging Congress and the President to pass the Employee Free Choice Act.
· SUNY Stony Brook graduate students and their undergraduate allies are rallying to demand a first contract for graduate employees which showcase the importance for the passage of the Employee Free Choice Act.
“When we invest in education the whole community benefits,” said Jake Stillwell, President of the Washington Student Lobby for the US Student Association (USSA).  Hundreds of students from USSA lobbied last week for the Employee Free Choice Act, the DREAM Act, and a fair budget.  “We want Congress to pass the Employee Free Choice Act and the Federal DREAM Act; these are the real silver bullets that will help with community progress.”

As these campus actions and student voices demonstrate, the Employee Free Choice Act is not just a labor issue; it is a bill that will create an economy in which all students and workers thrive. By passing the Employee Free Choice Act, Congress can heed the call of the nation’s youth and restore the chance for the American dream which all young people and future generations deserve.


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