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Senate considers union bill

Capitol Hill

TEXT OF STORY

BOB MOON: The Senate is set to start hearings this week, tomorrow specifically, on something called the Employee Free Choice Act. It's already passed the House. Under the measure, employees in a workplace could form a union after a majority of them sign a short form. Marketplace's Hillary Wicai reports.


HILLARY WICAI: The bill makes it easier for workers to form unions.

Former energy technician Errol Hohrein will testify tomorrow before a Senate Committee. He says he lost his job after he helped unionize an ethanol plant.

ERROL HOHREIN: If a majority of the people in that plant sign a card and want a union, than you automatically have a union. This reduces the timeframe that the company has to coerce, threaten and fire people for backing the union.

The bill would also allow the government to set a first contract if the company and employees can't agree on one. And that doesn't sit well with opponents like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Randy Johnson.

RANDY JOHNSON: The idea that the government would step in and tell an employer how to run his or her workplace, set terms and conditions of employment is a complete non-starter for us.

The bill was easily passed in the House but faces the threat of a filibuster in the Senate.

In Washington, I'm Hillary Wicai for Marketplace.

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